A positive sign for the Mycoplasma bovis eradication programme is that a clear majority of infected farms are now beef rather than dairy.
This would enable the M. bovis Programme to more quickly identify infected farms and take action to accelerate eradication of the disease from New Zealand.
The Ministry for Primary Industries and its M. bovis Programme partners DairyNZ and Beef+Lamb New Zealand have issued a request for proposals from organisations to undertake the Epidemiology Research on Risk Prioritisation project.
“Farms potentially infected with M. bovis are currently prioritised for follow up (casing) using several criteria,” says John Roche chair of the M. bovis Strategic Science Advisory Group (SSAG) and MPI’s Chief Science Adviser..
“This research aims to determine if there is anything we can do to improve the current system, to enable the Programme to more effectively prioritise farms at high-risk of infection for urgent casing.”
Roche says these high-risk farms are more likely to need animal movement controls applied to help slow the spread of the disease and speed up the eradication.
New Zealand is the first country in the world to attempt to eradicate M. bovis, a bacterial disease that can cause significant animal welfare and productivity issues, particularly in dairy cattle, including mastitis that doesn’t respond to treatment, severe lameness and late term abortions.
“This research has been identified as a priority in the Mycoplasma bovis Science Plan, developed by the SSAG to ensure research projects are directed where they will have the most impact to accelerate eradication. It also supports recommendations made in two recent reviews into the M. bovis programme,” says Dr Roche.
This will be a short-term project based on analysis of existing data.
The M. bovis Programme has allocated up to $30 million over two years for M. bovis research projects, guided by the science plan. This is part of the $870 million in funding allocated to eradicating M. bovis.
The risk prioritisation research is the third science plan project to go out to market. A large number of proposals for a major diagnostic research programme are currently being evaluated, submitted from researchers based in New Zealand and overseas. Quotes to undertake a study into the direct impact of M. bovis on animals and herds are also being evaluated.
The M. bovis Epidemiology Risk Prioritisation request for proposals has been issued on the Government Electronic Tender Services (GETS). Applications must be received by 2pm on 18 September.