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BISMARCK, N.D. — Two cattle in south-central North Dakota's Emmons County have died of anthrax, the first cases in North Dakota this year.

State Veterinarian Susan Keller said Wednesday that the cattle were in a herd southwest of Linton that has since been quarantined.

"This is a warning for North Dakota producers to talk with their veterinarians about having their animals vaccinated," Keller said.

"This is especially true for producers in areas of the state that have recorded anthrax in the past."

Last year, more than 500 animals in 16 North Dakota counties died from anthrax — the worst outbreak in state history, according to the state Agriculture Department.

Last week, six cattle in northwestern Minnesota's Kittson County — across the Red River from North Dakota's Pembina County — died of the disease.

So far this year, no cases have been reported in Montana, according to the Montana Department of Livestock.

Keller said anthrax usually appears in very wet or very dry conditions, when dormant bacteria spores in the soil are disturbed.

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Animals that consume the spores are exposed to the disease.

"Several different anthrax vaccines are effective and readily available," Keller said. "It usually takes about a week for immunity to be established."

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