Australian chief veterinarian Mark Shipp predicts FMD outbreak in Indonesia

Australia’s chief veterinarian says the “danger period” for the virus, which could decimate the agricultural industry, will continue for another six months.

Indonesia is battling an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) that has caused alarm among Australian farmers and government officials.

Australia’s chief veterinarian Mark Shipp says Indonesia is expected to vaccinate enough of its livestock against the virus in six months.

“That would mean that we are no longer in an epidemic phase there, and it is moving into an endemic situation, like in many other countries in the region – China, Thailand, India, Vietnam, etc.,” he told 3AW Radio. .

The Albanian government has spent more than $14 million to bolster its defenses, including supplying vaccines to Indonesia to prevent FMD from spreading to Australia.

A large-scale localized outbreak of a highly contagious virus that infects artiodactyl animals, including cattle and sheep, could wipe out the country’s livestock and cost the country $80 billion over ten years.

The federal government has received an advisory that says the risk of a localized outbreak is about 12.5% ​​over the next five years.

One localized case of the virus in Australia could bring the livestock export trade to a halt for several months.

But Dr. Shipp said he was confident in protecting Australia’s biosecurity.

“Indonesia is taking very strong action on widespread vaccination and Australia is supporting them with more technical support and capacity building,” he said.

Dr. Shipp said he regularly advises the federal government on the situation.

He said that closing Australia’s border with Indonesia is not justified, but “we are reviewing this almost daily.”

“People who bring in meat and food products are at the greatest risk,” he said.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt also said Australia’s highest risk of spreading the virus came from importing animals, meat and dairy products.

In response, biosecurity officers will now inspect more meat products entering the country through the mail, with all shipments from Indonesia and China being inspected.

Additional preventive measures such as foot mats are being rolled out at international airports across Australia in what Senator Watt called “the strongest biosecurity response in our history.”

In Victoria, the Melbourne Zoo has taken additional measures to protect its animals from the virus, including canceling some interactions and denying entry to people who live with livestock.

Returning travelers from Indonesia were also asked to wait 48 hours before visiting the zoo.

Originally published as Australia’s chief veterinarian predicts length of FMD ‘danger period’