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Infectious diseases can be caused by bacteria, fungi or viruses.

Infectious diseases of cattle, sheep and goats in Australia that can lead to significant economic loss include:

Notifiable diseases

Some infectious diseases are also 'notifiable diseases'. 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 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.

Risks and risk management

Some infectious diseases have highly visible consequences, while others remain silent for weeks or months. Where, in the absence of a drought or seasonal feed shortage, there has been a dramatic change in the condition of animals, producers should suspect that disease is present and arrange for veterinary investigations to be carried out.

With all diseases and nutritional deficiencies, assess the risk based on previous local district history by seeking local information from veterinarians, state government officers and consultants, and if available, the property history.

Many infectious diseases of cattle, sheep and goats do not occur in Australia and it is important to keep these diseases out of Australia, farm and industry biosecurity plans help ensure this. Information on biosecurity plans for diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Scrapie can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website.