Anthrax outbreak in Wood Buffalo Park spreads north

Parks Canada is confirming an Anthrax outbreak among bison in Wood Buffalo National Park.

The cases are in a 10-kilometer stretch of the park near the Northwest Territories border along Highway 5.

Parks staff have observed nine bison carcasses since June 30th with two positive cases of Anthrax among the two animals they have field tested.

The government of the Northwest Territories is also reporting 28 bison have died of Anthrax in their jurisdiction just north of the park.

Federal wildlife officials say the anthrax bacteria most likely originated in the soil. A similar outbreak occurred in late July of last year.

According to a release posted by Parks Canada, Anthrax is a disease caused by bacteria called Bacillus anthracis. Bison, cattle, horses, and other hoofed mammals are especially sensitive to anthrax. Parks Canada says it is extremely unlikely for humans to contract anthrax from animals, but to avoid direct contact with dead bison in and around the national park.

Officials say it is safe to travel along Highway 5 and to visit the park.

The risk of a person contracting anthrax is very low, and Wood Buffalo National Park has taken steps to minimize risk even further with the traffic control area and area closures.

Parks staff advise anyone seeing a bison carcass to not approach it; record the exact location if possible and notify the Wood Buffalo National Park Duty Officer at (867) 872-0404 as soon as you are able.

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