The disease has been detected in 29 animals in nine herds near the Napier-Taupo Road since April 2019. (File photo)
A bovine TB outbreak has occurred in a number of cattle in Hawke’s Bay.
The disease has been detected in 29 animals in nine herds near the Napier-Taupo Road since April 2019. One herd has since been cleared. Wildlife surveillance and DNA strain-typing indicates the source of infection is from wildlife north of the area.
OSPRI, which runs the national TBfree programme, has expanded its regional office in Napier to lead a response and will control stock movements in the vicinity to prevent any spread of disease.
TB is transmitted by possums. OSPRI manages and controls possum numbers to prevent the transmission of disease between wildlife and livestock.
“We will manage this cluster of infection and return Hawke’s Bay to TB-free status. The success of the TB programme is based on identifying disease, containing it with stock movement controls and removing the disease from herds,” said OSPRI chief executive Stephen Stuart.
As an additional precautionary action, OSPRI will expand the livestock movement control area (MCA) in Hawke’s Bay from March 1 to prevent any potential spread of disease. Cattle and deer heading for stock sales need to have returned a clear TB test within 60 days prior to the date of movement. Movements directly to slaughter are exempt from these requirements.
Staff at OSPRI’s regional office in Napier will hold information days later in February.
TB is a chronic infection that moves slowly and does not affect entire herds. Infection is managed by removing infected animals and continuing to test for TB until a clear status is reinstated with two clear tests.
There is minimal risk to human health, though health authorities advise against the consumption of unpasteurised milk.
Possum control operations have been planned or brought forward to interrupt the transmission of TB between wildlife in neighbouring forest and native bush areas and livestock on Hawke’s Bay farms.
Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor said he had met with OSPRI earlier this week and was told it was caused by the failure of a buffer zone on the edges of the existing movement control area.
“I’ve asked them to look at all the buffer zones in place right across New Zealand to ensure this won’t happen again,” he said.
“This latest outbreak is disappointing but the reality is TB has been in New Zealand since the 1950s. Such flare ups have occurred from time to time and should not undermine the long term target of eradication across all New Zealand,” O’Connor said