Calf days risky due to Mbo­vis

Clutha Leader - - FRONT PAGE - RACHAEL KELLY

The Min­istry for Pri­mary In­dus­tries says they ‘‘don’t want to be party poop­ers’’, but they’re rec­om­mend­ing schools think care­fully about hold­ing calf days this year in the wake of the my­coplasma bo­vis outbreak.

Thirty six farms through­out New Zealand are in­fected with the dis­ease, which can cause ill­ness in cat­tle in­clud­ing mas­ti­tis, pneu­mo­nia, arthri­tis and lateterm abor­tions. On May 28 the Govern­ment de­cided to at­tempt to erad­i­cate the dis­ease by culling stock, which was ex­pected to take up to two years. M.bo­vis is trans­mit­ted from an­i­mal to an­i­mal through close con­tact and bod­ily flu­ids, so talk­ing calves to a school pet day could spread the dis­ease.

‘‘Right now the dis­ease is not wide­spread around New Zealand, and we’re throw­ing ev­ery­thing at get­ting rid of it. So we be­lieve it’s sen­si­ble to avoid any un­nec­es­sary risk,’’ the depart­ment said on so­cial me­dia on Mon­day night. Per­haps kids could be en­cour­aged to hold a pet day, or bring other an­i­mals than calves to their spe­cial school day.’’

If schools do de­cide to go ahead with calf days, there are some com­mon-sense steps that MPI rec­om­mends which will help to min­imise any pos­si­ble risk of in­fec­tions be­ing trans­mit­ted be­tween calves be­ing trans­ported to schools, and to avoid them com­ing into con­tact with calves that may have al­ready con­tracted the dis­ease. MPI says as long as good hy­giene and biose­cu­rity pro­ce­dures are fol­lowed, the risk of the dis­ease be­ing spread at events is rel­a­tively low, but un­til trac­ing is com­pleted it is still a potential risk.

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