Veterinarians' role in Maintaining New Zealand's Biosecurity
To emphasise the important role that veterinarians play in keeping New Zealand free of exotic pests and diseases; identify those diseases absent from New Zealand; and provide guidance on what to do if an incursion is suspected.
This guidance was originally developed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and VCNZ for the information of overseas veterinarians registering for the first time in New Zealand. It has now been reproduced and made available for all veterinarians to access.
- must practise in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Biosecurity Act 1993 and associated subordinate legislation and standards
- are expected to be able to distinguish 'normal' endemic pests and diseases from the abnormal notifiable or exotic. When they suspect a notifiable or exotic disease they must remain on the property and immediately phone the suspected exotic disease hotline 0800 80 99 66 to notify. The Investigation and Diagnostic Centre (IDC) veterinarian on call is required to respond within 15 minutes and determine the next steps of the investigation. The onsite veterinarian should request that all movements on and off the property cease until the IDC veterinarian responds
New Zealand is a small island country and our economy is primarily based on agricultural exports. Consequently, biosecurity and the health of our animal population is of utmost importance. New Zealand is free of a large number of animal diseases common in other countries, and this disease freedom enables us to trade internationally in agricultural products.
One of New Zealand’s most important protections is our early warning surveillance system. This comprises an Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline (0800 80 99 66) that is staffed 24 hours a day and where reports of unusual cases or cases suspicious for exotic disease can be made. The system is supported by the Biosecurity Act 1993, under which all New Zealanders have the responsibility to report any suspect exotic pest or disease. Veterinarians are a vital part of this system as they are examining animals all over the country every day.
If you suspect an exotic disease, call the Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline at any time day or night: 0800 80 99 66. Call centre operators will take your call and one of the veterinarians in the MPI incursion investigation team will call you back immediately to discuss the case, advise on sample submission, further testing and other actions that might be needed. The incursion investigation team consists of 5 veterinary epidemiologists and one veterinary pathologist all of whom have been specially trained overseas in exotic disease recognition and investigation. The team is based at the Investigation and Diagnostic Centre at Wallaceville but is able to travel anywhere in New Zealand to investigate should the need arise. All testing for exotic diseases is performed at the Animal Health Laboratory in Upper Hutt, a physical containment level 3+ laboratory.
The MPI incursion investigation team’s role is to rule out cases of exotic disease in all animal species and to investigate any cases where a new or emerging syndrome is suspected.
The team is happy to discuss cases without opening an investigation if there is something that you would like to get an opinion on. You can ring the 0800 809 966 number at any time to request assistance or to report a worrying finding. In many cases the Team is able to gather information during the phone call with you that makes it possible to rule out exotic disease. If they do need to undertake testing to rule out an exotic pest or disease, the cost of this testing is borne by MPI and is not charged back to the veterinary clinic or client.
MPI also has an aquatic and marine team based at the same Wallaceville site and there are plant and environment teams based in Christchurch and Auckland.
Please phone the Hotline on 0800 80 99 66 if you suspect an exotic disease or pest!
Remember that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by making a call for information and assistance. New Zealand is free of many animal production diseases, and we all need to remain vigilant to make sure that it stays this way.
The following is a list of diseases that are absent from New Zealand. This list is not exhaustive and you should ring the exotic pest and disease hotline 0800 809 966 to discuss any case that you believe might be an exotic, new or emerging disease. This list is updated regularly and can be found on the MPI website.
• African horse sickness
• Japanese encephalitis
• African swine fever
• Lumpy skin disease
• Akabane disease
• Aujeszky’s disease
• Mycoplasma bovis
• Nairobi sheep disease
• Bovine anaplasmosis
• Newcastle disease
• Bovine spongiform encephalopathy
• New world screwworm (Cochliomyia hominivorax)
• Bovine viral diarrhea type 2
• Nipah virus encephalitis
• Brucella abortus
• Old world screwworm (Chrysomya bezziana)
• Brucella melitensis
• Ovine pulmonary adenomatosis
• Brucella suis
• Peste des petits ruminants
• Chronic wasting disease
• Porcine cysticercosis
• Bovine babesiosis
• Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome
• Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia
• Pullorum disease
• Contagious caprine pleuropneumonia
• Q fever
• Duck viral enteritis
• Duck viral hepatitis
• Rift Valley fever
• Enzootic abortion of ewes
• Salmonellosis (S.abortusovis)
• Epizootic hemorrhagic disease
• Schmallenberg virus
• Equine encephalomyelitis (Eastern and Western)
• Equine infectious anaemia
• Surra (Trypanosoma evansi)
• Contagious agalactia
• European foulbrood
• Tracheal mite (Acarapis woodi)
• Foot and mouth disease
• Transmissible gastroenteritis
• Fowl typhoid
• Tropilaelaps mites
• Trypanosomiasis (tsetse transmitted)
• Heartwater (Ehrlichia ruminantium)
• Turkey rhinotracheitis
• Highly pathogenic avian influenza
• Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis
• Infectious bursal disease
• Vesicular stomatitis
• Classical swine fever
• West Nile virus
• Sheep pox and goat pox
• Equine viral arteritis
• Equine influenza
• Theileriosis (T. parva and T. annulata)
• Swine vesicular disease
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