Adopt biosecurity strategies to prevent the introduction of infectious diseases

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Guidelines for preventing the introduction of infectious diseases

The establishment of biosecurity procedures for introduced stock is an important practice to prevent the transfer of infectious diseases onto the property.

The procedures that keep infectious diseases, pests and weeds off a property are often documented in a farm biosecurity plan.

There are two parts to a property biosecurity plan:

  • measures to reduce the risk of introducing an infectious disease, pest or weed onto the property
  • measures to reduce the risk of spreading an infectious disease, pest or weed within a property.

The principles of quarantine and risk assessment need to be applied in the day-to-day operation of a pastoral property.

Reduce the risk of introducing an infectious disease

Quarantine introduced stock to prevent transfer of infectious diseases.

Assess the risk of introducing an infectious disease before bringing new animals onto the property. Tool 6.10 is designed to help assess the likely risk of introducing diseases such as bovine Johne’s disease (BJD) and mucosal disease bovine (pestivirus or bovine viral diarrhoea virus - BVDV) into a herd.

Local veterinarians or state departments of primary industries and agriculture can also provide advice on preventing the introduction of infectious diseases. A simple phone call can help to avoid introducing a serious disease into your herd. Tool 6.11 is a cattle disease guide to provide to assistance in assessing the disease status of cattle before being introduced into your disease-free herd.

Check the disease risk of all introduced cattle. In principle:

  • only purchase stock known to be free of infectious diseases
  • where appropriate, quarantine all introduced animals until you are sure they are disease-free

As an overall disease prevention strategy, implement a biosecurity plan for the property by:

  • ensuring boundary and internal fences are stock proof
  • quarantining all introduced cattle, with the length of quarantine dependent on the disease
  • restricting use of yards and handling facilities to your own stock.

Reduce the risk of spreading an infectious disease

If you suspect, or can confirm, that an animal is showing symptoms of a notifiable disease it must be reported to a local vet or by phoning the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Continually monitor your livestock for signs of disease. Tools 6.02 and 6.04 provide diagnostics to detect diseases. Tool 6.11 can help you diagnose disease status.

Local veterinarians or state departments of primary industries and agriculture can also provide advice on preventing the spread of diseases.

What to measure and when

  • Assess the risk of introducing infectious diseases into your herd. Tool 6.10 covers BJD and mucosal disease (bovine pestivirus or bovine viral diarrhoea virus - BVDV).
  • If there is a risk, know the symptoms of common diseases and carefully check all cattle introduced onto the property.
  • If your herd contracts an infectious disease, take immediate action to prevent the disease spreading (see Tool 6.13).
  • If you suspect a notifiable disease, the full ist of which is availabe from the Department of Agriculture, report it to your local vet or phone Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Further information

  • Information on diseases, deficiencies and toxicities and strategies to prevent the disease, or plant, from being introduced onto your property is available on all state departments of primary industries and agriculture websites.