What is Mycoplasma bovis?
- Mycoplasma bovis causes illness in cattle including mastitis, abortion, pneumonia, and arthritis. This illness is hard to treat and clear from an animal. Once infected animals may carry and shed the bacterium for long periods of time with no obvious signs of illness. This has animal welfare implications and can, if not managed cause significant loses to dairy and cattle producers.
- Mycoplasma bovis primarily infects cattle. It is a silent spreader, cattle may be infected but not ill. The disease mainly spreads between cows in close contact. Generally prolonged or repeated contact with infected animals is required for the disease to be transmitted. Calves may become infected through drinking un-pasteurised milk from infected cows.
- Mycoplasma bovis is spread off-farm mostly through movement of infected cattle. This disease is not spread across long distances on the wind or in water. Other animals are very unlikely to be infected by the disease. Mycoplasma bovis does NOT survive in the soil for a long period. (Mycobacterium paratuberculosis Johnes disease) is reported to survive in soil for a long period)
- Mycoplasma bovis does not infect humans, and is not a food safety risk.
- Australia has the disease and manages it. MPI and industry are working with Australian experts to build a picture of what this outbreak may mean for New Zealand
What can farmers do?
- unusual mastitis in cattle that doesn’t respond to treatment,
- arthritis in cows and calves,
- late term abortion,
- pneumonia in calves.
Practice good on-farm biosecurity
- Guidance on protecting your farm [PDF, 360 KB]
- A3 farm hygiene poster – Protect your farm from disease [PDF, 373 KB]
Keep NAIT and other animal movement records up to date
Accurate record-keeping is vital to track the spread of the disease and help control it. It is critical that you maintain up to date and accurate NAIT and animal movement records.
The current situation
Mycoplasma bovis was confirmed in July 2017 on 2 farms in a 16 farm dairy enterprise in South Canterbury. There are now 13 properties in total confirmed as positive for the disease. (22/12/2017) These are predominantly in the Oamaru area with additional positive properties in Hawke’s Bay and Southland confirmed in December 2017. All infected properties are under Restricted Place Notices under the Biosecurity Act. These legal controls restrict the movement of stock and equipment on and off those farms to contain the disease.
How can I find out more?
You can subscribe to MPI’s stakeholder updates through this link:
M Bovis information is here:
If you have disease concerns ring MPI hotline – 0800 00 83 33
Local Rural Support Trust is 0800 787 254