M bovis confirmed in Taranaki
Taranaki’s first case of the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis has been confirmed by the Ministry of Primary Industries.
A dairy farm has been designated as the region’s first Restricted Place after test results and animal movements showed a risk of spreading the bacterial disease, Mycoplasma bovis director Geoff Gwyn, from the Ministry of Primary Industries, said in an emailed statement.
A Restricted Place is a farm where there is either confirmed disease or a very high suspicion of disease, and it requires that all cattle be culled.
The bacteria is spread animal to animal through close contact and bodily fluids,
‘‘M. bovis is tested at a herd level and in this case the herd has tested positive for M. bovis,’’ Gwyn said.
The bacteria is easily spread through animal contacts or drinking infected milk, so any cattle which have mixed with infected animals are considered to be at risk of infection even if the individual animals do not show clinical signs.
‘‘The M. bovis response team has worked extremely hard to establish whether the property is at risk of being infected and have established the risk is high, as is the risk of spreading it to other properties,’’ he said.
Further tests would be done after the animals were culled to confirm the infection.
He would not reveal any details about the farm involved or the number of animals being culled.
‘‘This is a sensitive situation and extremely trying for the farmers involved,’’ he said.
‘‘We have not taken this decision lightly and it is necessary for the response to eradicate M. bovis from New Zealand.’’
He said MPI was working with the farmers concerned and their support networks to help them through the process.
‘‘We are well aware that the effect of this eradication response has on individual farmers,’’ he said. ‘‘We are wrapping as much welfare support around the owners of the property as possible.’’
The Government announced in May that it would attempt to eradicate the disease at an estimated cost of $886 million over 10 years.
It was discovered in a South Canterbury dairy herd in July last year.