Anthrax Confirmed in Texas Deer

Anthrax Confirmed in Texas Deer
(Lynn Burkhead photo)

Texas wildlife officials have confirmed a case of naturally occurring anthrax in an infected white-tailed deer discovered in southeastern Edwards County.

This is the second confirmed case of anthrax this summer, but it is the first case this year to be recorded in a wild animal. The first case was confirmed in a goat back in June.

Edwards County is in a part of the state where anthrax problems have occurred before. In 2001, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website (www.tpwd.state.tx.us) reported on an outbreak in portions of Val Verde, Uvalde, Kinney, Real and Edwards counties in the southwestern portion of the state.

In other years, sporadic cases in both wildlife and domestic animals have been reported, mainly during the warmer months out of the year. An NPR report from a year ago indicated that over the previous 10 years time, a total of 25 out of the reported 27 anthrax cases in Texas had taken place during the months of June, July, August and September.


According to the TPWD report, anthrax is an infectious disease of mammals, including humans, and one that is caused by the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. It naturally resides in the soil in many portions of Texas, although it most typically is found in the counties mentioned above.


During the heat of summertime, when weather conditions can change rapidly between periods of monsoonal rains to searing heat and drought, the spores of the bacterium can be found at the surface level of the soil and/or on low-to-the-ground plants that animals, wild or domesticated, may ingest.

Once infected, the disease is reported to be typically fatal in deer and livestock and can be fatal to humans unless they are treated early on with antibiotics.

TPWD reported that the incubation period is between one and 10 days. Once the onset of clinical symptoms occurs (fever, depression, lethargy, staggering, trying to get to water, etc.), infected wildlife and/or livestock tend to die very quickly, often in just a few hours.

While livestock are typically vaccinated in anthrax prone counties, TPWD indicated that human vaccination is not typically recommended. The exception can be individuals thought to be at a high risk of being infected like military personnel in combat zones where the disease may be used as a biological weapon.


According to the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), infected animals are often found dead by landowners with bleeding taking place from the animal's body openings, which is one possible sign of anthrax infection. TAHC also indicates that animal carcasses infected with anthrax also may appear bloated and decompose quickly.

TAHC reports that livestock with symptoms consistent with anthrax should be reported to a private veterinary practice or to a TAHC official. Hunters who suspect that a wild animal has been infected with the disease should contact authorities.

Producers and anyone else coming in contact with a potentially infected animal are encouraged by TAHC to follow basic sanitation precautions such as wearing protective gloves, long sleeve shirts and washing thoroughly afterward to prevent the accidental spread of the bacteria to other people.


“The TAHC will continue to closely monitor the situation for possible new cases across the state," said Dr. T.R. Lansford, TAHC assistant executive director for Animal Health Programs.

"Producers are encouraged to consult their veterinary practitioner or local TAHC office if they have questions about the disease,” he added.

For more information regarding anthrax, contact your local TAHC region office; call 1-800-550-8242; or visit www.tahc.texas.gov.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Abu Garcia Virtual Rod with Bluetooth

Pure Fishing's Andrew Wheeler tells Outdoor Sportsman Group writer Lynn Burkhead all about the brand new Abu Garcia Virtual rod that integrates Bluetooth technology through a free ANGLR smartphone app.

As KVD tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, innovative Humminbird products and cutting-edge technology like that found in the new Mega 360 Imaging sonar are major reasons contributing to his unparalleled success.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths. Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton - September 16, 2015

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record. Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some great bass pond fishing. Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson

If you haven't looked at the smaller urban lakes in your area, you are missing out on some...

See More Trending Articles

More Whitetail

Hunters have a love-hate relationship with deer decoys. Here's how to get the most out of your next setup. Whitetail

Whitetails: How to Deke a Bruiser

Bob Robb - November 25, 2019

Hunters have a love-hate relationship with deer decoys. Here's how to get the most out of your...

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology. Whitetail

Commercial CWD Test for Deer Scents Available, in Wide Use

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 20, 2020

Most major deer-urine scent companies are adopting the technology.

Can you pattern bucks during the rut? The answer is yes, and here's how. Hunting How-To

Order Out of Chaos: Patterning Rutting Bucks

David Johnson

Can you pattern bucks during the rut? The answer is yes, and here's how.

A shot commits you to finding the animal. Your success depends on how you read the hit and the track. Whitetail

Aim True, Track Smart: Harvest Recovery

Wayne van Zwoll - December 26, 2019

A shot commits you to finding the animal. Your success depends on how you read the hit and the...

See More Whitetail

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.