An isolated incidence of bovine tuberculosis infection remains under management in a small dairy herd in the North Island farming province of Waikato.
The identification of a cow showing symptoms of bovine tuberculosis infection late in 2016 triggered a programme of responsive testing of dairy cattle and the slaughter of a small number of calves.
Kevin Crews, National Disease Manager with OSPRI, which manages the TBfree programme for disease management and eradication of TB, said the animal was found at routine post-mortem inspection at a slaughter facility.Infection was confirmed with laboratory culturing of Mycobacterium bovis bacteria, and follow-up TB testing of the herd continues to be conducted on the farm.OSPRI immediately introduced measures to restrict animal movements in the area.
The incident is considered to be a movement-related breakdown as a transmission of disease (from possums) is unlikely – the area is considered a Vector Free Area (VFA) and has no recent history of TB infection.
Mr Crews said the property concerned has had movements restricted to reduce the risk to cattle and deer in the area, and will work through options with the farmer and herdowner while testing and treatment of the herd is completed.
Waikato TBfree Committee Chair Chris Irons says that while the recent infection is not good news for the region, with the assistance of OSPRI and local herdowners the issue can be dealt with effectively.“As the TB testing programme proceeds, I urge all landowners to co-operate with contractors in completing their tests and allowing access to their properties,” said Mr Irons.
All cattle and deer herdowners in Waikato can reduce their TB risk by ensuring that their herd registration and contact details are up-to-date, and that they meet their testing requirements. This can be easily done by contacting the TB information line on 0800 482 463 or visiting tbfree.org.nz.