What's going on?

Traces of anthrax have been found in a British cow in the first case of the disease in a domestic animal in the country since 2006.

The cow died at a farm in Wiltshire last week, and Public Health England (PHE) said the case was detected and isolated quickly.

Is there a threat of it spreading?

The farm is now in quarantine. A footpath near it has been closed and authorities said that no meat from the farm has entered the food chain.

The risk of infection from contact with the animal is "very low", a PHE spokesperson told the Press Association.

Maggie Rae, Director of Public Health and Wiltshire Council Corporate Director, said:

We worked with our partners both locally and nationally and swift action was taken to deal with the immediate risk.

We know any risk is low. However as you would expect, we are taking this very seriously and we will be doing everything in our power to support the national and local experts to keep Wiltshire safe.

What is anthrax?

Anthrax is an infectious bacterial disease spread by spores which primarily affect herbivorous animals, but is also deadly in other mammals. Wild animals regularly contract it from eating contaminated meat.

Human cases are rare, and the last diagnosed case occurred in 2008. It is treatable provided the infection is detected quickly but can be deadly if not treated.

Anthrax has been used as biochemical warfare by the US and other governments, and spores sent via post have caused several outbreak scares in the past.

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