One of the properties in Mid-Canterbury/Ashburton has been directly linked by animal movements to an infected property detected from the Programme’s August Bulk Tank Milk (BTM) screening.
The second property, in Canterbury/Selwyn district, was confirmed following a detect result from the September BTM screening.
These newly confirmed properties demonstrate the Programme’s National Surveillance working as it should – detecting possible cases and showing us where to look to eliminate the infection.
As a result of tracing, two Southland farms are undergoing testing for M bovis under movement restrictions, after some cattle have been connected to animal movements in Canterbury.
The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) M bovis programme director Stuart Anderson says it’s important to note this is not an outbreak – the M bovis Programme is actively looking for those final pockets of infected properties and fully expected to find more over spring – it’s a time there are more samples to test, animals are under stress from calving and 2018 heifers are entering the milking platform for the first time.
Nor does it appear widespread — no additional farms in the Mid-Canterbury/Ashburton district other than those three dairies originally detected in August were found in September or October BTM screening, giving confidence this is an isolated cluster connected by animal movements.
This is why good NAIT records are so important for everyone. They help to trace infected animals faster and stop the spread of the disease to other herds and other farms. Incomplete NAIT records make tracing infected cattle a difficult job.
The M bovis Programme’s surveillance tools like the BTM screening programme and beef sector surveillance have been developed to not only help find any remaining infection faster, but to give us all confidence long-term that New Zealand is free from the disease.
The Programme is working closely with all affected farmers, their staff and whānau to ensure things run as smoothly as possible, and that they are well-supported.
M bovis was first detected on a Canterbury farm in 2017. The government had since undertaken an eradication programme.
In August, it was announced that there were no M bovis active properties, or properties under a Notice of Direction, although the Ministry still expected to find some infected animals through tracing as has been the case.