Industry biosecurity

Industry biosecurity relates to programs implemented to prevent and control infectious animal diseases, pest and weeds.

Industry biosecurity programs are usually designed to control emergency animal diseases. These are diseases that cause heavy mortalities or production losses and can impact trade, human health or the environment.

Emergency animal diseases are usually notifiable and must be reported.

Emergency animal diseases include:

  • Exotic diseases
  • Emerging diseases
  • Endemic diseases

Exotic diseases

Include diseases that do not occur in cattle, sheep and goats in Australia, but do in other countries. The Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement describes how Australia's governments and livestock industries work together to prevent a disease incursion.

Endemic diseases

Include diseases that occur in cattle, sheep and goats in Australia.

Some endemic diseases have been in Australia for a long time, but occur only sporadically and only in some regions. Regional biosecurity programs are designed to prevent these diseases from becoming more widespread. As part of regional biosecurity programs, diseases that are endemic in one part of Australia may be notifiable in another including:

Other endemic diseases have only been in Australia for a short period of time and are referred to as emerging diseases. Regional biosecurity programs are also used to prevent these diseases becoming more widespread. An example of an emerging endemic disease is Johne's disease.

Some endemic diseases are notifiable because they have the potential to cause significant production losses. An example of this is lice in sheep, which is notifiable in several States.

Resistance of parasites to chemical treatments also has the potential to cause production losses, so parasite resistance is sometimes notifiable. Examples of this are the Parkhurst, Ulam and Ultimo strains of cattle tick and macrocyclic lactone resistant gastrointestinal worms.

Other endemic diseases are notifiable because of their zoonotic potential eg leptospirosis and Q fever.

Reporting notifiable diseases

A notifiable disease must be reported immediately to relevant authorities. If a producer suspects, 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.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry maintains a national list and state and territory lists of notifiable animal diseases.

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