Livestock

Virus test results soon

by
November 14, 2017

Farmers who have had mobs tested for bluetongue virus can expect to find out the results by early next week, Victoria’s chief veterinary officer says.

Farmers who have had mobs tested for bluetongue virus can expect to find out the results by early next week, Victoria’s chief veterinary officer says.

Charles Milne said the results of 2500 samples taken from 98 mobs of cattle surrounding Bamawm, north-west of Rochester, had been finalised and would be referred to domestic and international experts for interpretation and advice before advising farmers.

‘‘It’s clear that some animals from NSW that had evidence of infection went onto the farm in Victoria. What we need to determine was whether there was spread from these animals to Victorian animals,’’ Dr Milne said.

‘‘It’s impossible to determine until the results are interpreted whether there was one source or several.’’

Dr Milne reiterated there was no restrictions on the domestic trade of animals, with restrictions only in place for a small number of countries that require animals to be sourced from a bluetongue virus-free zone.

‘‘Probably by mid next week we’ll be in a position to share what that advice (from domestic and internal experts) was and the best way forward,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re still intent on having a local meeting to explain what has happened and take any questions.’’

The temporary 100km bluetongue virus zone put in place near Echuca last month has been extended until December 13.

The zone, which was initially implemented on October 13, was put in place in response to the detection of past exposure to the bluetongue virus in several 12-month-old dairy heifers located on a property near Bamawm.

Bluetongue is a viral disease of livestock spread by flying insects known as midges.

All ruminants are susceptible, including cattle, sheep, goats, buffalo, camelids and deer.

BTV does not spread rapidly, as it is not spread directly from animal to animal.

While BTV is endemic in northern Australia, Victoria, along with the rest of southern Australia, has previously been classified as being free of BTV.

There is no risk to humans from bluetongue virus, nor is there any food safety issue associated with livestock products including meat or milk.

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