Mycoplasma bovis is keeping the eradication team busy, as efforts to control the spread of the disease are continuously ramped up.
The government last week announced that an additional infected property was found inside the Wakanui area of Mid Canterbury, where strict biosecurity measures, including a controlled area notice (CAN), are in place to eliminate a pocket of infection in the area, M bovis programme director Simon Andrew says.
“We can confirm that a property in the red area of the CAN is infected,” he said.
Andrew said testing is also underway on another property in the area, “which is likely to be confirmed infected in the coming weeks”.
The CAN, which comes into force on October 13, 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 said.
MPI is intensifying its 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. Bulk Tank Milk (BTM) and Beef and Drystock Cattle surveillance programmes will also remain in place.
“At this stage in the [surveillance] 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,” he said.
“It’s crucial we protect the investment made to date.”
There are four 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.
Farmers are urged to 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,” he said.