M.bovis affects three new properties in NZ

Photography by: Jim Witkowski/EyeEm | Getty Images

Identified properties are linked to the Van Leeuwen Group farms that were first identified with M.bovis

The Ministry for Primary Industries recently identified three new properties affected by Mycoplasma bovis. These properties are linked to the Van Leeuwen Group farms that were first identified with the cattle disease last month.

"This latest identification is obviously disappointing but it was anticipated as the animals were traced back to the origin of the initial outbreak," Federated Farmers biosecurity spokesperson Guy Wigley says.

"It’s important to keep things in perspective and not unnecessarily increase anxiety levels among farmers."

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He adds that M.bovis is a complex bacterial infection that has never been encountered before in New Zealand. However, MPI has been looking at ways to contain the disease and remains positive that it can be eradicated.

"From what I understand, testing is rigorous, with the MPI animal health laboratory expecting to test more than 39,000 samples in an extensive surveillance programme over the next three months," Guy says.

"Affected farmers are being informed on a regular basis about sample results. The fact is, it’s going to take several months to ascertain a definitive result," he says.

Federated Farmers says that although they have heard talk among farmers who have been bothered by MPI’s inability to identify the affected properties because of the Privacy Act, this is not the time "to incriminate other farmers" who are in a stressful situation.

"MPI is doing what it is obligated to do and that is to acknowledge the privacy rights of those farmers who have bovis identified in their herds. It’s not a question of secrecy; it’s about protecting individual farmers and their businesses from unwelcome and unhelpful publicity," Guy says.

Farmers have been asked to stay vigilant and report any signs of mastitis that doesn’t respond to treatment, late-term abortions, pneumonia, and arthritis.

"The industry as a whole is working with MPI, and farmers themselves can do their bit by practising best farm biosecurity measures through good hygiene and cleaning equipment and making sure you maintain separation between neighbouring herds," Guy says.

Source: Federated Farmers

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