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Bovine TB facts


Bovine TB facts

 

Bovine TB - What you need to know

  1. Bovine TB is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis. It can affect a wide range of animals. In New Zealand, cattle and deer are the species most at risk of contracting the disease.
  2. Possums and ferrets are the main vectors (carriers) of bovine TB in New Zealand. About half of new herd infections in TB risk areas can be traced back to infected possums or ferrets.
  3. Bovine TB is a disease that affects all New Zealanders. Eradicating TB is vital to maintaining the production and reputation of the country’s valuable dairy, beef and deer exports.
  4. TBfree is a nationwide programme of livestock testing and pest control that exists to eliminate the disease. To do this, we aim to eradicate the disease from livestock by 2026, from possums by 2040 and from New Zealand by 2055.
  5. OSPRI runs a nationwide testing programme alongside a National Identification and Tracing programme (NAIT). Around four million TB tests are carried out on cattle and deer every year, and infected animals are slaughtered.
  6. To control the spread of the disease among infected herds and herds in high TB risk areas, all herds must be registered and stock tagged correctly.
  7. To stop possums and ferrets, responsible for carrying TB and spreading the disease to cattle and deer, we survey and control wild animals across large areas of private and public land.
  8. The combination of wildlife control, livestock movement restrictions and effective disease management has led to a drop in infected herd numbers from 1700 in the mid-1990s to 43 in 2016.
  9. Infected possums are known to live in about 40 per cent of New Zealand. OSPRI's TBfree programme invests in research to continually improve how the disease is diagnosed and the methods used to control pests.
  10. Everyone can help make New Zealand TB-free. Supporting our world-class programme of disease management, movement control, pest control and research by registering all livestock with NAIT can make TB history.

Copyright [2012] by OSPRI
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