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Australia’s first national lumpy skin disease action plan launched

Beef Central, 14/10/2022

Brooke Barkla, CPC and NTLEA deputy chair Patrick Underwood with Federal Agriculture Miniser Murray Watt at the Berrimah Export Facility in Darwin on Thuresday.

THE Federal Government has launched Australia’s first National Lumpy Skin Disease Action Plan designed to strengthen efforts to prevent, detect, prepare for and respond to any incursion.

Lumpy skin disease (LSD) is a significant disease threat to Australian’s livestock industry, causing significant milk production losses and skin sores in cattle and water buffalo, and can be spread through mosquitoes, flies and ticks.

The cost of an incursion would see severe economic losses to Australian farmers and our meat processing sector.

Since 2019, the disease has spread through China, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia. In March 2022 it was officially reported by Indonesia on the island of Sumatra.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said given the recent spread of LSD in the region, we owe it to Australia’s cattle and buffalo industries to be increasingly vigilant.

“It’s important to remember that Australia has never experienced an outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD), and remains free from this disease,” Minister Watt said.

“But Northern Australia’s proximity to newly-affected countries means we need to take the threat seriously, especially given the risk of infected mosquitoes being blown in by cyclonic winds.

“If wild buffalo populations and cattle in Northern Australia’s extensive rangelands were exposed to LSD, reservoirs of the virus could establish. If this were to occur, eradication would be extremely difficult.

“This new national plan will strengthen Australia’s ability to prevent, detect, prepare for and respond to any incursion.

“I’m pleased that many of the 27 activities and eight objectives identified in the action plan are already underway.”

The plan, developed through extensive engagement with government, industry and other stakeholders, sets out national priorities for actions to strengthen Australia’s LSD biosecurity; preparedness, including market access; response and recovery. It outlines what systems need to be strengthened or established to support Australia’s cattle industries and effectively manage the risk of LSD.

It builds upon ongoing work between the Australian and Indonesian governments to assist with their current disease eradication efforts for both LSD and foot-and-mouth disease. This includes the provision of resources such as vaccines and sending experts to assist on the ground in Indonesia.

Source: Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Further information on the action plan is available here: www.agriculture.gov.au/lumpyskin

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