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Mycoplasma Bovis - information for farmers
If you have recreationalists on your farm, such as trampers, cyclists or horse trekkers you need them to be aware of Mycoplasma bovis. It does not pose any risk to visitors on your farm, but you can take some simple steps to educate those visiting your farm about your biosecurity practices around this disease and other pests, plants and animal diseases that may be of risk to your business.
Mycoplasma bovis is a bacterium that can cause serious animal welfare conditions in cattle. Recently it appeared in New Zealand and Ministry of Primary Industries are working on eradication this disease in New Zealand. It is a Notifiable Organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993. You can find more information on Mycoplasma bovis here
There is no risk to human health and food safety. It is a disease that affects animal welfare and production. It affects only cattle, including dairy cows and beef cattle. Humans cannot contract the disease.
How it spreads
Mycoplasma bovis spreads from animal to animal through close sustained contact and bodily fluids. Calves can be infected through drinking milk from infected cows. Urine and faeces are not regarded as transmitters of the disease and therefore pose little risk when people are walking through farmland.
The disease is known to spread by moving infected cattle from farm to farm. People, horses and vehicles pose very little risk. It is safe for these to move from infected farms to other properties with appropriate permits.
If your farm is of interest at any level to Ministry of Primary Industries there is no reason to stop activity on your property, but now is a good chance to look at the biosecurity measures you have in place and create or reassess your farm plan. Visitors can still safely recreate on your farm as they did previously. For more information please contact the Ministry of Primary Industries at 0800 00 83 33 or Mbovis20017_Liaison@mpi.govt.nz
If Mycoplasma bovis is present on your farm you need to work with the Ministry of Primary Industries to make sure visitors to your farm are aware of the bacteria and know how you are managing this on your farm.