In this update:
- The current situation.
- Advice for farmers buying, selling or moving weaned calves to grazing.
- Help find unregistered tag numbers.
- The calf rearer survey.
- Update on bulk milk testing.
- ELISA test for Mycoplasma bovis do not react to pink-eye antibody.
- M. bovis Strategic Science Advisory Group Workshop.
- PM sets out recovery package and compensation assistance.
- Helpful resources for you and your clients.
- Key contacts.
The current situation
As at 12 October there are:
- 38 infected properties (6 in the North Island, 32 in the South Island)
- 59 properties under restricted place notice (this number includes infected properties
If you?ve not done so yet, sign up to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) M. bovis stakeholder update. This is emailed out each Friday. It?s for you, your farmer clients, and anyone else who is interested. Subscribe to this list.
If your clients are planning on buying, selling, and/or moving weaned calves to grazing there are steps they can take to help protect their animals from M. bovis. Find advice to pass on to your clients here.
Help find unregistered tag numbers
Tracing has shown 720 unregistered radio frequency identification (RFID) ear-tag numbers believed to have originated from an infected property. Please ask your farmer clients to check the numbers in the RFID file available on this page. Let MPI know if you find any by phoning them on 0800 00 83 33.
Calf rearer survey
A survey of around 200 calf rearing properties is on across the country.
The test involves a simple one-off nasal swab on calves at the property. The properties selected are not suspected of having M. bovis.
Update on bulk milk testing
Bulk milk testing for M. bovis is progressing well.
Milk samples have been taken from every dairy farm in New Zealand. Testing began shortly after the start of calving, when cows are most likely to be shedding the bacterium if they are infected.
Milk samples are being collected from each farm every two weeks, up to a total of six samples over 12 weeks. To date, almost 10,000 of New Zealand’s 12,000 dairy farms have completed two rounds of testing. MPI report that so far only three farms have been confirmed with M. bovis through this testing.
This is encouraging, but it?s still too early to speculate about the final results.
If any suspicious results are found in a milk test, MPI will contact the farmer immediately. Dairy companies will continue to keep farmers updated as the testing programme continues.
ELISA test for Mycoplasma bovis do not react to pink-eye antibody
MPI have received suggestions that pink eye in cattle has caused positive Mycoplasma bovis ELISA tests. It is highly possible that this confusion has come about due to the similar shortened bacterial names. The cause of pink-eye, Moraxella bovis, is often shortened to M. bovis; as is the cause of tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis.
It is important as veterinarians, that while we are in a Mycoplasma bovis eradication phase that we are careful with client communication to avoid unnecessary confusion. If there is confusion, clients can be assured:
- Mycoplasma bovis is an exceedingly rare cause of pink-eye
- Moraxella bovis is not related to the Mycoplasma species.
- The ELISA test detects antibodies to Mycoplasma species and so it is extremely unlikely to detect antibodies to Moraxella species
It is important to remember that a Restricted Place Notice is only placed on a property after repeated positive test results for Mycoplasma bovis. Infected Properties are identified by detecting DNA that is specific to Mycoplasma bovis.
M. bovis Strategic Science Advisory Group Workshop
Recently, the M. bovis Strategic Science Advisory Group (SSAG) met to identify and prioritise research required to eradicate the disease.
The workshop brought together around 75 researchers and experts from across the world and from multiple science disciplines. Many research priorities were identified at the workshop, including developing new cost-effective diagnostic tools and improving understanding of M. bovis transmission dynamics, to developing farmer-centric data systems and enhancing communication of the science and evidence base.
The SSAG is committed to proceeding at pace to ensure that science is delivered to support the eradication and the efforts to date. The group has started drafting a detailed science plan, based on the priorities and other outputs of the workshop, which will be finalised in November.
PM sets out recovery package and compensation assistance
Last week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Biosecurity Minister Damien O?Connor set out a recovery package to help farmers get back to business more quickly after their farms are cleared of M. bovis. The package also includes extra help for farmers to calculate and file their compensation claims.
Read Prime Minister Jacinda Adern and the Biosecurity Minister Damien O?Connor?s joint media statement here.
- Information on compensation assistance is available at: https://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/compensation/
- Information on support for farmers is available at: https://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/ support-for-farmers/
Helpful resources for you and your clients
- The National Response Plan ? this was released at the end of September.
- Protecting your animals information (for clients)
- Cleaning and disinfecting information (for clients)
- Minimising the risk: advice for clients on rodeos, shows and calf days (flyer)
- NZVA website: M. bovis information for veterinarians, including answers to frequently asked questions and previous M. bovis communications from the NZVA.
- MPI website: Resources and the latest information on the M. bovis response
- General questions on M. bovis – call MPI on 0800 008 333 or email MBovis2017_Liaison@mpi.govt.nz
- Veterinary specific questions ? contact NZVA on 04 471 0484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Veterinarian support ? Confidential counselling is available to veterinarians in New Zealand for free through Vitae. Veterinarians receive three free visits per year. Appointments can be made via the 24-hour free phone service 0508 664 981 or on completion of a self-referral counselling form. Find the counselling form here. Members can also speak to our Chief Veterinary Officer, Helen Beattie. Call 04 471 0484.
- Direct farmer support (Rural Support Trust) – 0800 787 254
- To report a pest or disease (Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline) – 0800 809 966