An additional Mycoplasma bovis property has been found inside the Wakanui area of Mid-Canterbury where strict biosecurity measures, including a controlled area notice (CAN), were announced last week to eliminate a pocket of infection in the area, says M. bovis programme director Simon Andrew.
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"Today we can confirm that a property in the red area of the CAN is infected," says Simon Andrew. "We are also undertaking testing on another property in the area which is likely to be confirmed infected in the coming weeks."
The CAN, which comes into force on 13 October, is a precautionary measure to restrict the movement of cattle in an effort to stop M. bovis circulating in the area and coincides with the planned depopulation of a nearby feedlot, which is an important next step toward eradication.
"While the area is already under tight controls, and farms with known infection or suspected infection are under movement restriction, the CAN provides an extra layer of protection for farmers outside of the boundary by restricting animal movements out of the area," he says.
"We are intensifying our efforts to get to the tail end of the disease faster, which means farmers can expect to see more testing and more investigation into areas where there is residual risk, such as any possible transmission routes."
The background surveillance that has been under way for some time now, with the national Bulk Tank Milk and Beef and Drystock Cattle surveillance programmes, will continue for the foreseeable future and risk movements will continue to be followed up.
This means farmers can expect to continue to see M. bovis Eradication Programme staff on-farm and some farmers will be called to confirm whether they have cattle on their property for some time.
"Our bulk milk test programme is going well, with no unexpected finds in recent months. August 2022 is on track to be the first August since 2018 with no confirmed infection detected via bulk tank milk surveillance.
"At this stage in the Programme, after everyone’s hard work and the 272 farmers who have had to cull their cattle, we are intensifying our efforts to find any possible infection," says Simon.
"It’s crucial we protect the investment made to date. We have 4 confirmed properties in Mid-Canterbury at present, the only area in the country with infection. This compares to about 40 nationwide at the height of M. bovis."
"It’s also more important than ever that farmers continue to keep accurate National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) records, as well as details of on-farm activity. Tracing animal movements remains our best tool to quickly track the movements of infected animals, or animals at risk of infection." ■