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BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota agriculture officials say anthrax has been confirmed in a group of cows in a pasture in eastern Billings County.

The case was confirmed Friday. It is North Dakota's first reported case of anthrax this year.

North Dakota state veterinarian Susan Keller says producers in Billings County and surrounding areas should check with their veterinarians to see if they should start vaccinating their cattle for anthrax.

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Anthrax vaccines are readily available, but it takes about a week to establish immunity, and the vaccine must be administered annually.

Anthrax is caused by bacterial spores that can lie dormant in the ground until they are activated by heavy rains, flooding or drought. Scattered heavy rains may have triggered the recent case.

No anthrax cases were reported in North Dakota last year.

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