Australia on high alert as foot-and-mouth disease detected in Indonesian cattle

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenCountryman
A cow affected by foot-and-mouth disease in Nepal. Drooling is a symptom of the disease.
Camera IconA cow affected by foot-and-mouth disease in Nepal. Drooling is a symptom of the disease. Credit: Supplied

A foot-and-mouth disease outbreak has been reported in Indonesia, with the Cattle Council of Australia warning members it has received advice that 1247 cases have been detected.

In a statement emailed to members on Friday, CCA said it understood the Indonesian government was preparing an emergency declaration and collecting samples for analysis by the World Organisation for Animal Health.

“This will be necessary to determine the serotype present so that (an) appropriate vaccine can be ordered,” the statement said.

“The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is working to acquire as much information as possible from our contacts in the country and will update you as further information comes to hand.

“We are engaged with Indonesia and also working across our networks to establish the support that Australia and other global and regional organisations can offer to support a swift and effective response.”

According to the statement, 1247 cases of foot-and-mouth disease have been confirmed in four provinces of East Java — Gresik, Lamongan, Sidoarjo and Mojokerto.

The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment confirmed on Friday it was aware of the outbreak.

“The department is aware of reports of Foot and Mouth Disease in Indonesia, in particular that more than 1,000 cattle are affected in four provinces of East Java,” a DAWE spokesperson said.

“Australia is offering immediate assistance.”

The news has put the Australian Government and cattle producers on high alert, and comes as the potentially deadly lumpy skin disease continues to run rampant across Indonesia.

“The close proximity of Indonesia has major implications for our biosecurity system and disease-free status,” CCA said.

“Indonesia is our closest neighbour with whom we share an incredibly important bilateral trading partnership.”

CCA is urging all cattle producers to “exercise vigilance” on-farm by being aware of the symptoms of the disease in cattle and ensuring they report any suspected cases.

Cattle producers have also been urged to ensure all traceability documentation is correctly completed and review their on-farm biosecurity plan.

According to Beef Central, the diagnosis was made by an Indonesian reference laboratory and is yet to be formally confirmed by the World Organisation for Animal Health

Details of the reported incursion were reportedly revealed in an official East Java Provincial Government incident report, which suggested the disease could have been spreading in cattle in and around the Javanese city of Surabaya for some weeks.

Foot-and-mouth disease is a highly contagious viral disease of livestock that causes fever followed by the development of blisters, mainly on the mouth and on the feet.

It is generally not lethal to adult animals, but can kill young animals and cause serious production losses.

Early symptoms include lameness, long strings of sticky saliva and blisters.

Foot-and-mouth disease also causes high fever, mucus and foam discharge from the mouth, sores in mouth and on the tongue, loss of appetite, shivering and quickness of breath.

Suspected cases should be reported immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

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