Third farm with cow dis­ease in Oa­maru


The Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries (MPI) says it ‘‘strongly sus­pects’’ a third South Is­land farm is pos­i­tive for the bac­te­rial cat­tle dis­ease My­coplasma bo­vis.

It also has in­di­cated the dis­ease could have spread even fur­ther be­cause cat­tle from the farm, near Oa­maru, were moved to other farms be­fore the alarm was sounded on July 20, the date M. bo­vis was de­tected for the first time in New Zealand.

MPI said no an­i­mals had left the prop­erty since July 20. It was now con­tact­ing the prop­er­ties which had re­ceived the cat­tle and was test­ing an­i­mals ‘‘with ur­gency’’.

MPI’s di­rec­tor, re­sponse, Ge­off Gwyn said the Oa­maru farm had a di­rect con­nec­tion with one of the in­fected Van Leeuwen Dairy Group farms, where the dis­ease was first con­firmed.

It had re­ceived some an­i­mals from the Van Leeuwen farm be­fore M. bo­vis was found in New Zealand. Blood test re­sults from the prop­erty show some an­i­mals have been in­fected with the dis­ease.

A Re­stricted Place No­tice has been placed over the prop­erty, con­trol­ling the move­ment of an­i­mals and other risk ma­te­ri­als off the farm.

M. bo­vis is highly con­ta­gious within herds but not from farm to farm through air­borne means.

It is found in all of the world’s dairy coun­tries, does not in­fect hu­mans and presents no food safety risk. There is no con­cern about con­sum­ing milk and milk prod­ucts.

The dis­ease causes un­treat­able mas­ti­tis in dairy and beef cows, pneu­mo­nia in up to 30 per cent of in­fected calves, ear in­fec­tions in calves, abor­tions and swollen joints and lame­ness.

Gwyn said there was no need to name the farm con­cerned.

The farmer had been in reg­u­lar con­tact with MPI and had vol­un­tar­ily kept stock and risk goods on the farm for more than three weeks while test­ing took place.

When the dis­ease first struck MPI also re­fused to name the Van Leeuwens un­til it was widely known.

MPI was con­sid­er­ing whether the farms that had re­ceived the cat­tle from the Oa­maru farm would need to have spe­cific con­trols placed on the move­ment of risk goods.

‘‘In the mean­time, we’re ask­ing the farm­ers con­cerned to fol­low good on-farm hy­giene mea­sures and to en­sure their NAIT records are kept up to date in case there is a need to trace an­i­mals in fu­ture.’’

Gwyn said the new de­tec­tion was not a sign the dis­ease was ‘‘run­ning ram­pant in New Zealand’’ but was ev­i­dence of the ex­ten­sive sur­veil­lance and test­ing pro­gramme work­ing.

Fed­er­ated Farm­ers biose­cu­rity spokesman Guy Wigley said there had al­ready been con­cern about cat­tle move­ments be­tween prop­er­ties which had oc­curred be­fore mid-July.

‘‘I’m pleased to hear they are fol­low­ing all pos­si­ble leads,’’ he said.

Gwyn said it was not a ‘‘game changer’’ .

‘‘The dis­ease is be­ing well con­tained on the known prop­er­ties and we are con­fi­dent our con­trol mea­sures are suf­fi­cient to con­tain it there. Our sur­veil­lance pro­gramme con­tin­ues to in­ves­ti­gate whether the dis­ease had been spread­ing around the coun­try be­fore it was dis­cov­ered in South Can­ter­bury.’’

Cows on an a farm near Oa­maru look likely to have been in­fected with the My­coplasma bo­vis dis­ease from a Van Leeuwen prop­erty.

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