The Colorado Department of Agriculture says it is investigating an anthrax case involving 50 dead cattle on a Logan County ranch.
At least one of the dead cattle is confirmed to have been infected with the disease in what the department is calling the state's first anthrax case in 31 years.
The ranch has been quarantined along with other people, cattle and equipment that may have come into contact with the anthrax and are being monitored. The department says no cattle have entered the food chain and that neighboring ranches have been notified.
"The risk is minimal outside the affected ranch. We believe, at this point, that anthrax is confined to that specific premises," said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr.
Anthrax, a bacteria that can form harmful spores, can develop and live naturally in soil for many years. The spores protect vital parts of the bacteria allowing it to live until the right conditions allow it to grow. Spores can become active in periods of marked climatic or ecologic change such as heavy rainfall, flooding or drought which can then expose the anthrax spores to grazing livestock.
Often the animals are found dead before they were found to be infected.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention however says that it is rare to find an infected animal within the United States.
"Our focus is on the potential for human exposure," said Dr. Tony Cappello, district public health administrator for the Northeast Colorado Health Department. "We are currently conducting our own public health investigation and contacting individuals that have been involved with the livestock. Anthrax is not spread from person to person and exposure is limited only to those who had contact with the affected cattle or the immediate area."
The department says that it will be taking extra care to dispose of the animal carcasses in a way to prevent further soil contamination.
Though animals are the most susceptible to anthrax, humans can get it by handling products from infected animals, eating undercooked infected animals and inhaling anthrax spores.
The disease can be treated with antibiotics if caught early.
Dogs Over The Bridge
In the past fifty years, 50 to <a href="http://www.cracked.com/article/181_the-6-creepiest-places-earth/" target="_hplink">600</a> dogs have jumped over Scotland’s Overtoun Bridge and plummeted to their deaths. A few years ago, five dogs jumped in under six months. <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-411038/Why-dogs-leapt-deaths-Overtoun-Bridge.html" target="_hplink">The Daily Mail</a> wrote an article featuring reports of horrified pet owners who walked their dog over the bridge, when suddenly the dog would, without warning, leap over the bridge, falling 50 ft to the rocky bottom below. Perhaps even more disturbing, there are <a href="http://www.cracked.com/article/181_the-6-creepiest-places-earth/" target="_hplink">reports</a> of “second timers” – of the few dogs who have survived the fall, some jumped over the same bridge <em>again</em>. Many <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-411038/Why-dogs-leapt-deaths-Overtoun-Bridge.html" target="_hplink">theories</a> have circulated about why dogs react this way to the bridge. Some suggest that the dogs are deliberately committing suicide, perhaps due to depression in their owners or even a supernatural force. More recent research suggests that it may be the scent of minks, an animal known to live under the bridge. Whatever the explanation may be, perhaps dog owners should simply stop walking their dogs over the Overtoun Bridge.
<a href="http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/dead-blackbirds-arkansas-bizarre-animal-deaths-110105.html" target="_hplink">LiveScience</a> reports that in 2005, over 1,000 toads exploded in Germany. An autopsy revealed that birds had eaten their livers, causing the toads to puff up and explode. Perhaps the birds were hired by Hannibal Lecter.
Sheep Suicide March
In a pretty strong argument that sheep really do follow blindly, hundreds of sheep followed each other over a cliff in Turkey in 2005. According to the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4665511.stm" target="_hplink">BBC</a>, 400 sheep died, but another 1,100 falling sheep survived the pileup due to bodies cushioning their 15-meter fall. The mass “sheep suicide” devastated villagers in the eastern Van province, as families had relied heavily on their sheep for survival.<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2005-07-08-sheep-suicide_x.htm" target="_hplink"> USA Today</a> suggests that it was an estimated loss of $100,000. What we want to know is, if all the sheep were following each other blindly, which stupid sheep was leading them all?
Thousands Of Dead Red Devils
In 2005, <a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/02/0223_050223_giantsquid.html" target="_hplink">National Geographic</a> reported that thousands of jumbo squid were found beached in California. The death of these “Red Devils” remains a mystery - they may live at depths of over 2,000 feet, so it’s hard to learn much about them. In life <em>or</em> death.
Bird And Fish Bizarreness
In the past few weeks, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/05/hundreds-more-dead-birds-_n_804952.html" target="_hplink">thousands</a> of birds and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/05/dead-birds-fall-from-sky-_n_804591.html" target="_hplink">millions</a> of fish have been found dead across the globe. Mass numbers of dead fish have appeared in Maryland, Arkansas, Brazil, and New Zealand. Meanwhile, a crazy number of dead birds have been found in Arkansas, Louisianna, Kentucky, and Sweden. Theories range from fireworks to the apocalypse. We’re hoping it’s the former.
<a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2010-07-29/world/uganda.anthrax_1_anthrax-hippos-game-meat?_s=PM:WORLD" target="_hplink">300</a> Hippos were found dead in a Ugandan park in 2004. An investigation revealed that the mass death was due to an anthrax outbreak found in their water. More recently, <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2010-07-29/world/uganda.anthrax_1_anthrax-hippos-game-meat?_s=PM:WORLD" target="_hplink">82</a> hippos died this June from another anthrax outbreak in Uganda.
Thousands Of Flamingos, Penguins, And Pelicans
<a href="http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2040762_2040769_2040787,00.html" target="_hplink">Time Magazine</a> reports that in 2009, birds of many varieties died in mass numbers in Chile. Thousands of flamingos, 1,200 penguins, and about 60 pelicans all were found dead over the course of two months. There has been no proven reason for why all of these birds died, although some theories point to global warming, pollution, overfishing, or the unusually hot weather.
Hundreds Of Beached Whales
One eery Sunday night in 2009, nearly 200 pilot whales stranded themselves on an island between Australia’s mainland and Tasmania, reports the <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7918144.stm" target="_hplink">BBC</a>. A few months earlier, over 150 pilot whales had beached themselves on Tasmania’s west coast. One theory suggests that there may have been a disturbance in echo-location due to nearby humans.
10,000 Wildebeests Pileup
<a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/bigphotos/37881794.html" target="_hplink">National Geographic</a> reports that an estimated 10,000 Wildebeest lay piled up dead along the banks of Kenya last October. The animals all drowned while trying to migrate across the river, resulting in one percent of the ENTIRE species population being lost. We can’t help but wonder… after the first one, two, even 5,000 wildebeest drowned, why did the rest of them still decide to enter the water?
50% Of Earth's Species
Forget mass deaths that happened last year, even last century. This mass animal death really redefines “mass.” 65 million years ago, <a href="http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/images/yucatan.html" target="_hplink">NASA</a> reports that the Chicxulub crater was formed when an asteroid or comet slammed into the earth, wiping out over 50% of the Earth’s species. Dinosaurs didn’t just die in mass, they went extinct. Makes a few thousand bird deaths seem like a drop in the bucket, doesn’t it?
<a href="http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/dead-blackbirds-arkansas-bizarre-animal-deaths-110105.html" target="_hplink">LiveScience</a> reports that a shower of frogs may have fallen to the ground in the early 20th century. The report is based on a book by Charles Fort, who describes the phenomenon as “a shower of frogs which darkened the air and covered the ground for a long distance.” While this event occurred during a rainstorm in Kansas City, Missouri, similar reports popped up in dozens of countries around the world, from Germany to Tahiti. Scientists believe it is possible that strong winds may have carried the light animals short distances, creating the appearance of a frog shower.