Virus test re­sults soon

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS - By Alana Chris­tensen

Farm­ers who have had mobs tested for blue­tongue virus can ex­pect to find out the re­sults by early next week, Vic­to­ria’s chief ve­teri­nary of­fi­cer says.

Charles Milne said the re­sults of 2500 sam­ples taken from 98 mobs of cat­tle sur­round­ing Bamawm, north-west of Rochester, had been fi­nalised and would be re­ferred to do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional ex­perts for in­ter­pre­ta­tion and ad­vice be­fore ad­vis­ing farm­ers.

‘‘It’s clear that some an­i­mals from NSW that had ev­i­dence of in­fec­tion went onto the farm in Vic­to­ria. What we need to de­ter­mine was whether there was spread from these an­i­mals to Vic­to­rian an­i­mals,’’ Dr Milne said.

‘‘It’s im­pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine un­til the re­sults are in­ter­preted whether there was one source or sev­eral.’’

Dr Milne re­it­er­ated there was no re­stric­tions on the do­mes­tic trade of an­i­mals, with re­stric­tions only in place for a small num­ber of coun­tries that re­quire an­i­mals to be sourced from a blue­tongue virus-free zone.

‘‘Prob­a­bly by mid next week we’ll be in a po­si­tion to share what that ad­vice (from do­mes­tic and in­ter­nal ex­perts) was and the best way for­ward,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re still in­tent on hav­ing a lo­cal meet­ing to ex­plain what has hap­pened and take any ques­tions.’’

The tem­po­rary 100 km blue­tongue virus zone put in place near Echuca last month has been ex­tended un­til De­cem­ber 13.

The zone, which was ini­tially im­ple­mented on Oc­to­ber 13, was put in place in re­sponse to the de­tec­tion of past ex­po­sure to the blue­tongue virus in sev­eral 12-month-old dairy heifers lo­cated on a prop­erty near Bamawm.

Blue­tongue is a vi­ral dis­ease of live­stock spread by fly­ing in­sects known as midges.

All ru­mi­nants are sus­cep­ti­ble, in­clud­ing cat­tle, sheep, goats, buf­falo, camelids and deer.

BTV does not spread rapidly, as it is not spread di­rectly from an­i­mal to an­i­mal.

While BTV is en­demic in north­ern Aus­tralia, Vic­to­ria, along with the rest of south­ern Aus­tralia, has pre­vi­ously been clas­si­fied as be­ing free of BTV.

There is no risk to hu­mans from blue­tongue virus, nor is there any food safety is­sue as­so­ci­ated with live­stock prod­ucts in­clud­ing meat or milk.

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