Anthrax could be responsible for 50 Colo. cattle deaths

Anthrax caused the death of one cow in Logan County, Colorado and may be the cause of 50 other cattle deaths as well, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Department officials confirmed that one part of the state tested positive for anthrax but that none of the cattle from the area entered the food chain. All potentially exposed livestock are currently in quarantine, KDVR reports.

"The risk is minimal outside the affected ranch," Keith Roehr, the state veterinarian, said, according to KDVR. "We believe, at this point, that anthrax is confined to that specific premises."

The one confirmed case of anthrax is the first reported case in the state in 31 years.

Roehr said the disease is not uncommon in the western part of the United States and that the disease develops naturally in soil. Anthrax spores can become active during extreme climate changes. Extreme heat leading to a drought in the state could lead to such a scenario, according to KDVR.

While anthrax is difficult to contain among livestock because it can spread amongst herds, the immediate focus is to ensure it does not come into contact with humans.

"We are currently contacting individuals that have been involved with the livestock," Roehr said, according to KDVR. "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."