A cow in northwest Minnesota has died from anthrax, the first case in Minnesota in five years.
Anthrax spores occur naturally in the ground, said state animal health board veterinarian Linda Glaser.
"Anthrax is a bacteria that can normally be found in certain types of soil," Glaser said. "The bacteria can be in a very hardy form that can survive in the soil as a spore. And animals that would take in those spores, while they're grazing on land, taking in some of the dirt that may contain spores, can then become infected."
Recent heavy rains in northwest Minnesota may have brought the anthrax to the surface where the cow ingested it, she said.
The affected herd has been quarantined, Glaser said.
"We want to get that herd off the pasture land where the death occured," she said, "as well as get it vaccinated."
The animal health board recommends that farmers in the northwest part of the state vaccinate their herds.
In the past 13 years all of the state's cases of anthrax in livestock have occurred in northwest Minnesota. In rare cases, Glaser said, humans can contract the disease if they handle or eat infected animals.