GREENBUSH, MN (AP)--A family who health officials treated after it ate contaminated beef believes only hype visited their northern Minnesota farm--not the country's first reported case of gastrointestinal anthrax.
While results of a blood test were not avaliable as of Sept. 10, Ruth and Bob Graff say they feel fine, and doubt that Bob Graff's upset stomach and his grandson's fever had anything to do with the disease.
The family has been undergoing treatments with antibiotics and an anthrax vaccine from the U.S. Army after feasting on a possibly infected cow.
"The steaks were pretty good, too," Bob Graff said.
On Sept. 7, state health officials issued warnings about the potentially deadly problem after several dozen cows died. The words of caution, unfortunately, came too late for the Graffs.
Within the past few weeks, more than a dozen cows have died in Roseau County. Health officials link them--as well as cow deaths in nearby North Dakota and southern Canada--to anthrax.
Anthrax can kill farm animals quickly, and can pose severe health problems for humans. As word spread around Greenbush about the cow deaths, farmers flooded the local veterinarian with calls and began watching their own animals.
Bob Graff found a bloated dead cow three weeks ago on his 1,040-acre farm eight miles south of the Canadian border. A farmer for most of his 64 years, Graff's experience suggested the cow died of either a heart attack or some sort of digestive problem. His veterinarian agreed.
So Graff had the animal butchered. Then the family grilled out. After finding a second dead cow, and then a dead calf, they got worried. Their veterinarian stopped by to test the animals. By the time anthrax was detected, the Graffs had found four more dead cows.
When Bob Graff heard it was anthrax killing his cows, he immediately thought about the bloated cow and how he and his family had eaten of it. They decided to take precautions even though they had not gotten sick, yet.