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Photo credit: SD Animal Industry Board

Do You Know the Best Samples to Send in for Anthrax? 

Anthrax is a serious disease of cattle that pops up somewhere almost every year in South Dakota, with the potential to cause high numbers of death losses on pasture. Cattle encounter the causative bacteria (Bacillus anthracis) when they graze close to the ground or when spores have been washed up on grass from previous pasture flooding.

Knowing whether a death on pasture has been caused by anthrax is important, so that further death losses can be prevented.  Detecting Bacillus anthracis in the dead animal is how diagnosticians at the South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Lab (ADRDL) confirm anthrax as the cause of death.  Initially, lab experts perform a Giemsa screening test - a smear of sample fluid stained with a special stain.  The ADRDL’s confirmatory test is a culture, with subsequent identification of the bacteria via MALDI-TOF technology or other means.

Bacillus anthracis can be detected from many different sample types from a deceased animal.  To minimize the dispersal of bacteria, and avoid human exposure, veterinarians are cautioned to avoid opening the carcass of an anthrax suspect. 

The ADRDL's preferred sample is blood (or fluid containing blood) from the animal’s jugular or tail vein. That blood should be transferred into a red-top blood tube and sent to the ADRDL. Only when this sample is impossible to obtain, then a sample of organ or even an ear can be sent instead. 

Along with the sample, include the appropriate test form listing the animal ID, and the type and number of samples sent. Doing this removes any source of confusion that could delay lab testing. In the past, ADRDL personnel have been sent syringes, needles, unnecessary blood tubes, and even soil samples to be tested for anthrax. None of these items are appropriate for testing and present unnecessary hazards to the people working in the lab.

Anthrax sampling and testing is a critical step in dealing with this serious disease. Contact the ADRDL with any questions about anthrax sampling and submission this summer. 

Read the SDSU iGrow article on anthrax diagnosis

New ADRDL Building Beginning to Take Shape

ADRDL construction crews were able to make up some lost time during the relatively good weather conditions this past month.  A schedule that had been a bit behind due to the poor spring weather is now entirely on track.  
The construction site has undergone some significant changes just in the past couple of weeks.  The top picture shows a view of the progress taken on June 8.  Since then, most notably, the steel structure of the north part of the building has started being erected.  In the bottom picture, taken June 25, the steel skeleton of what will become the part of the building that holds the new molecular diagnostics laboratory, along with space for an elevator and mechanical room, is visible.  

Additionally, the picture also shows progress on the new animal barn, which is scheduled to be complete over the next two weeks.  In addition to this work, much progress has been made on footings for the other portion of the building, along with storm sewer and water line installation.  

Access to the current ADRDL receiving and necropsy drop-off off North Campus Drive remains open as usual, with the exception of a temporary closure on North Campus Drive to the east (see box below).  However, during August, construction on North Campus Drive unrelated to the ADRDL project will cause access to be significantly rerouted.  Watch next month's Animal Health Matters for an update.  If you have any questions about the construction project, call the lab at 605-688-5171 or email us.  
Beginning on Tuesday, June 26, a short portion of North Campus Drive (red line) will be closed to traffic.  Access to the ADRDL on North Campus Drive from the west will remain, but access from the east will be affected.  The closure is expected to end on or around Thursday, July 12. 

"One Health" Meeting Covers Zoonotic Disease Prevention on Farm Visits and Public Animal Exhibits

Zoonotic disease experts and food animal producers who welcome the public to view their animals learned from each other at the most recent "South Dakota One Health" seminar, held June 21 at the USD Health Science Center in Sioux Falls.  Public animal exhibits provide excellent learning opportunities for children and others to learn about animal agriculture, but also have been associated with severe illnesses such as E. coli O157:H7 and cryptosporidiosis that can be passed from healthy-appearing animals to people. 

Highlighting the seminar were talks from Doug Ode (pictured above) from Royalwood Farms in Brandon, and Sylvia Wolters from Pipestone Systems, both of whom explained how they Read more...
Reminders from Richard
(thanks Zach Lau and Richard the cat!)
  • Please remember to be complete when filling out USDA Coggins forms.  In particular, be sure to include the location of the horse and the veterinarian's signature.  The location of the horse is especially important should there be a reactor on the Coggins tests. 
  • The ADRDL and VBS Department will be closed Wednesday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day.
Pieces and Parts
Well wishes are extended to Dr. Melissa Behr, who has resigned her post as pathologist at the ADRDL for a new position with IDEXX.  A national search for the open position is set to close on July 13. 

Sydney Bormann, junior Biology major from Parkston, was awarded a Griffith Undergraduate Research award for her project on "Identification of mucosal interface colonizing and biofilm-forming microorganisms of the chicken gut."  Sydney is a student in Dr. Joy Scaria's laboratory.

New manuscript: Darweesh MF, Rajput MKS, Braun LJ, Rohila JS, Chase CCL. BVDV Npro protein mediates the BVDV induced immunosuppression through interaction with cellular S100A9 protein. Microb Pathog. 2018 May 30. [Epub ahead of print]

New manuscript: Morarie-Kane SE, Smirnova NP, Hansen TR, Mediger J, Braun L, Chase C.  Fetal Hepatic Response to Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus Infection in Utero.  Pathogens 2018, 7(2), 54

Dr. Diego Diel attended the International Avian Respiratory Disease Conference in Athens, GA, May 28-June 1.

Dr. Melissa Behr and Michael Dunn presented a noontime seminar on items of interest from meetings they recently attended: the North American Veterinary Dermatology Forum (Behr) and the International Conference on One Medicine One Science (Dunn), May 30. 

Dr. Russ Daly and Janice Kampmann attended and helped coordinate the SDVMA Summer Meeting, June 7-8 in Pierre.  Dr. Darin Dell, Wheat Ridge Animal Hospital, was the featured speaker and wet lab instructor on the topic of companion animal dermatology.  

Dr. Russ Daly represented South Dakota at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, held in West Palm Beach, Florida June 10-13, in conjunction with the annual Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists.  Daly serves as co-chair of the NASPHV's Animal Contact in Public Settings Compendium committee.   

Drs. Jane Hennings, Chris Chase, and Alan Young visited representatives of the Frontier and Rural Medicine (FARM) program at the USD Sanford School of Medicine in Sioux Falls, June 11.  

Dr. Jane Hennings represented the ADRDL at the USDA National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) Methods Technical Working Group, at their meeting in Ames, IA, June 18-20.
SDSU iGrow Articles from the VBSD:

How the Veterinary Lab Diagnoses Anthrax in a Beef Herd

Farm Forum Animal Health Matters Columns:

May 25, 2018: Health Papers Serve a Purpose
June 8, 2018: Pneumonia in calves means lost opportunities later in life
June 22, 2018: Texas brucellosis case raises interesting questions


Upcoming Events:

July 4: Independence Day: Lab Closed

August 12-15: SDVMA Annual Meeting, Sioux Falls, SD
Contact Us:


Box 2175
1155 North Campus Drive
Brookings, SD  57007


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