Number of confirmed infected properties 38
Number of properties under Restricted Place Notice 64
Number of samples received by AHL 188,884
Number of tests completed 174,677
Number of traced properties 4620
One new IP but four more farms return to business
One more North Canterbury dairy farm has been confirmed to be infected. The farm is connected to known infected farms through animal movements. Tracing work from this farm is currently underway.
At the same time, four previously M.bovis-infected farms have had their IP status lifted. One Canterbury and three Southland farms were depopulated, decontaminated and have completed a 60-day stand-down period. MPI’s Recovery Team will assist the farms to return to normal operations.
The total number of currently active IPs stands at 38. These are made up of 18 beef farms, 17 dairy farms and 3 lifestyle properties. A total of 173 properties that were previously under movement controls from MPI have tested negative and had the controls lifted.
I was under the impression that every dairy farmer had been bulk milk tested. However I picked up a replacement heifer earlier this week and all they were asked to do was send in two samples from their sickest cows. So they picked two mastitis cows to sample.
Ruth wrote: MPI releases are still talking of upcoming spring milk sampling. The sick cow sampling was last year, wasn't it? Or earlier this year; not this new milking season.
The current season has barely started in most areas. If I recall correctly the plan was to do three tests over 6 weeks (or was it six weeks apart?), starting a month after calving. So in many areas it's time for the first test about now. Down south a lot of farms will have just started calving, even here in the Waikato most will be two-thirds to three-quarters calved, and you want to test all the cows not just the early calvers.
A science advisory group has been formed to strengthen current efforts to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis), and met for the first time on 31July 2018.
Members of the newly-formed M. bovis Strategic Science Advisory Group (the advisory group) will provide high-level strategic scientific advice to the Mycoplasma bovis Governance Group. Science continues to be critical to the M. bovis response, and the advisory group will be a valuable resource to enable current science activities to be scaled up and expanded.
"The advisory group will ensure we have on-going access to some of the best minds and knowledge relating to M. bovis, which will bolster the eradication effort,” says Roger Smith, head of Biosecurity New Zealand and chair of the Mycoplasma bovis Governance Group.
The advisory group involves a range of relevant expertise from New Zealand and internationally.
They will contribute their expertise on a range of science matters, including:
identifying any critical knowledge gaps and ways to address them, including considering emerging technologies and ideas that may help eradicate M. bovis
prioritisation of M. bovis research efforts
coordination of current and future science initiatives relating to M. bovis
learning from other research programmes in New Zealand and internationally
providing assurance that M. bovis eradication research efforts remain fit for purpose.
"The members of the advisory group understand this is an unsettling time for many farmers and are moving quickly. They held their second meeting this week to start the development of their detailed work plan to shape the long-term science strategy,” says Dr John Roche, chair of the advisory group, and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ departmental science adviser.
"The group has already identified some key priorities for immediate work, and will hold a workshop in September to get wider input into developing the broader science plan," says Dr Roche.
"Scientific research is a vital part of our efforts to eradicate M. bovis." says Mr Smith.
Advisory group members
John Roche – departmental science adviser, MPI (Chair).
Glenn Browning – professor, director, Asia-Pacific Centre for Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia.
Hamish Gow – professor of agribusiness, Massey University.
Nigel French – distinguished professor, executive director of the Infectious Disease Research Centre, Massey University.
Axel Heiser – senior scientist, immunology, AgResearch.
William McMillan – independent agri-business consultant and scientist; Kaiārahi Ahuwhenua, Federation of Māori Authorities.
Trish McIntosh – director, North Canterbury Vets.
Roger Ayling – private consultant with extensive M. bovis research experience, United Kingdom.
Cameron Stewart – research scientist, Disease Prevention and Detection, CSIRO.
James Turner – resource economist and senior social scientist, AgResearch.
Shaun Hendy – director, Te Pūnaha Matatini, University of Auckland, complex systems, networks, and mathematical modelling.
Prue Williams – general manager Science System Investment and Performance, MBIE.
Veronica Herrera – director, Diagnostics and Surveillance Services, MPI.
Background to Mycoplasma bovis
Mycoplasma bovis is a bacterium that can cause a range of serious conditions in cattle – including mastitis that doesn’t respond to treatment, pneumonia, arthritis, and late-term abortions.
The disease may be dormant in an animal – causing no symptoms at all. But in times of stress (for example, calving, drying-off, transporting, or being exposed to extreme weather), the animal may shed bacteria in milk and nasal secretions. As a result, other animals may be infected and become ill or carriers themselves. The disease does not pose a health risk for humans.
This is the first time it has been found in New Zealand. The bacteria is an Unwanted Organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993.
As at 7 August 2018, the disease is still not widespread (37 confirmed infected farms) and there is just one strain of the disease here.
Mycoplasma bovis eradication decision
On 28 May 2018, it was announced that the Government, along with the dairy and beef industries, agreed that an attempt will be made to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis. This means we're trying to completely get rid of Mycoplasma bovis from New Zealand's dairy and beef herds. Science is a key part of this. The Government is investing $30 million over 2 years in scientific research to support the fight against Mycoplasma bovis.
DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, and Beef+Lamb New Zealand support MPI's decisions. They also recognise that this is a difficult time for the farmers involved.
The industry organisations believe that the measures are necessary to protect all New Zealand cattle farms from the disease. New Zealand is one of the few countries where Mycoplasma bovis is not found naturally. Because of this, the industry groups support measures to keep it that way.
Biosecurity New Zealand today confirmed a property in the Tasman district as positive for the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis. It's the first time the disease has been found in this region.
The affected property is a mixed sheep and beef farm near Motueka. The farm was identified through the tracing of animals from known infected farms. It is connected to other infected properties through animal movements.
As with all other infected properties, this farm is now under a Restricted Place Notice under the Biosecurity Act 1993. This effectively places the farm in quarantine lockdown – restricting the movement of animals and other risk goods on and off the farm.
While the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) won’t be publically naming the farm, neighbours who share a boundary with the infected property will be notified by MPI. The risk to neighbouring farms is very low.
I have been wondering how many of the neighbours of leased or short-term or occasionally-grazed blocks get notified in this process, if a farm is in this situation? I.e. potentially infected cattle could have been grazing such blocks up until the RPN is imposed, at which point it is presumably only immediate neighbours who are notified, but those on the boundaries of the other blocks would have been at risk until that point.
Number of confirmed infected properties 35
Number of properties under Restricted Place Notice 58
Number of samples received by AHL 190,285
Number of tests completed 175,324
Number of traced properties 4763
198 properties previously under movement controls from MPI have tested negative and had the controls lifted. This includes 28 previously infected properties. Three more farms have been confirmed as Infected Properties, including the first one in the Tasman region. Oamaru and Ashburton regions have one new IP each. At the same time, one Southland property had its IP status lifted. The total number of currently active IPs stands at 35.
Ruth wrote: I have been wondering how many of the neighbours of leased or short-term or occasionally-grazed blocks get notified in this process, if a farm is in this situation? I.e. potentially infected cattle could have been grazing such blocks up until the RPN is imposed, at which point it is presumably only immediate neighbours who are notified, but those on the boundaries of the other blocks would have been at risk until that point.
Yes, that appears to be the case thus far but, if you're going to tell the immediate neighbours, why not also include the immediate grazing neighbours as well, since that risk is about the same?