>>Using a sensitive molecular diagnostic technique called Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR, lab technicians isolate the DNA in the suspect animal's blood and check for the presence of Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax.<<
>>Without the factors that determine virulence, "the bacteria alone can't make the animal very sick," Hinkley said. "But if everything tests positive, it's a fully virulent, very dangerous bacteria for the animal and humans who come into contact with it."<<
>>The new test also enables the state veterinarian to immediately quarantine infected herds, aids vaccination decisions for at-risk herds and reduces the risk of spreading the disease. This is important because B. anthracis spores remain viable and infective in the environment for decades.<<
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