N.W.T. confirms anthrax outbreak in Slave River Lowlands bison

Anthrax confirmed in Wood Buffalo National Park bison

Some bison in the N.W.T. have died after becoming infected with anthrax. Photo: APTN File

The Northwest Territories government is confirming an anthrax outbreak among the Slave River Lowlands bison population.

The Department of Environment and Climate Change reported the suspected outbreak last week after 15 bison carcasses were found between Fort Smith and Fort Resolution.

This week, it says the outbreak has been confirmed by laboratory testing and a total of 28 carcasses have been found.

It says all carcasses are being treated as anthrax cases

Parks Canada says two cases were confirmed along a 10-kilometre stretch of Highway 5 in Wood Buffalo National Park.

Nine carcasses

It says a total of nine carcasses have been observed.

Anthrax is usually spread in the form of a spore.

Parks Canada says the public safety risk is very low. It is extremely rare for humans to contract anthrax but they can from direct contact with dead bison.

Parks Canada is putting a traffic control area in place where stopping is prohibited and public access areas are closed.

An incident management team is working to detect and dispose of the infected bison and treating soil to prevent the spread of anthrax spores.

Anthrax outbreaks are a semi-regular feature among the North’s bison herds. Last year, 50 bison died in the same park.

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