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MPI finds Mycoplasma bovis on four new farms

Article – BusinessDesk

Dec. 12 (BusinessDesk) – The Ministry for Primary Industries says four new properties have tested positive for the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis, including the first outbreak in the North Island, and strongly suspects a fifth property may …MPI finds Mycoplasma bovis on four new farms, first outbreak in the North Island

By Rebecca Howard

Dec. 12 (BusinessDesk) – The Ministry for Primary Industries says four new properties have tested positive for the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis, including the first outbreak in the North Island, and strongly suspects a fifth property may also be infected.

Mycoplasma bovis is commonly found in cattle globally, including Australia. It does not infect humans and presents no food safety risk, but can have serious effects on cattle. In July, MPI said the disease had been detected in a dairy herd in South Canterbury, the first known outbreak in New Zealand, on two of 16 farms belonging to Van Leeuwen Dairy Group. Prior to today’s announcement eight properties had tested positive, all within the same area. So far, more than 3,500 animals have been culled.

One of the latest infected properties is in the Hastings district and three others are within a farming enterprise in Winton. The suspect property is near Ashburton.

“The fact the disease has been found in the North Island is disappointing to me and, no doubt, will be for farmers too,’’ Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said in a statement. Officials are working hard to track the disease, however, “we are still unable to identify the source of the disease and that concerns me,” he said.

MPI director of response Geoff Gwyn said early indications are that all the properties have links with the Van Leeuwen Dairy Group through cattle movements that took place before July 21, when the disease was first detected.

He said the ministry is still analysing what the latest find means for the wider response. “We’re dealing with a lot of uncertainty. Our investigators are building a picture of stock movements onto and off these farms so we will not be making hasty decisions on next steps,” he said.

“The Hastings and Winton properties are now under a Restricted Place Notice under the Biosecurity Act. This effectively places them in quarantine lockdown – restricting the movement of animals and other risk goods on and off the farm. The suspect property is under voluntary movement controls until their status is confirmed. MPI is working closely with them,” said Gwyn.

Federated Farmers president Katie Milne said the infection underscores that “good on-farm biosecurity and accurate tracing of animal movement is not an option in today’s world, it’s an imperative.”

(BusinessDesk)

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