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Mycoplasma Bovis - information for people crossing farms
If you are tramping, cycling or horse trekking across a farm you need to be aware of Mycoplasma bovis. It does not pose any risk to you, but you can take some simple steps to stop it spreading.
Mycoplasma bovis is a bacterium that can cause serious animal welfare conditions in cattle, including mastitis, pneumonia, arthritis, and late-term abortions. Recently it appeared in New Zealand. It is a Notifiable Organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993.
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 mainly spreads from animal to animal through close contact and bodily fluids. Calves can be infected through drinking milk from infected cows. Urine and faeces are not considered transmitters of the disease.
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.
What you can do
You can help farm owners who share their land with you by taking some simple steps to stop the bacteria spreading.
- DO NOT interact with cattle if you are walking through mobs of stock.
- Follow all instructional notices you come across.
- Have clean footwear when you enter a farm and when you reach the boundary, remove any visible mud or effluent before entering the next property.