Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) Surveillance

New Zealand is free from the class of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, or TSEs. These diseases include bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle, scrapie in sheep and chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer. As a country with an economy reliant on its large livestock industry, New Zealand must protect its TSE-free status to facilitate trade.

MPI runs a comprehensive TSE detection and surveillance programme to prevent the entry and spread of TSE agents. This programme supports New Zealand’s claim that its animal products are free of BSE, scrapie and CWD, which is important to continue accessing international markets. 

The surveillance programme is targeted at susceptible livestock: cattle, sheep, goats and deer showing signs of neurological disease. The brains of these animals are submitted by veterinarians to laboratories where they are screened for endemic diseases and TSEs. Currently, MPI is investigating the collection and testing of lymphoid tissues from sheep and goats as an alternative method. In addition, contingency plans have been developed for dealing with any suspect cases in livestock, to reduce the time to detection and intervention. 

Important changes to the TSE Surveillance Programme

Surveillance Incentives

Payments are made to both vets and farmers for the submission of tissue for sampling.   

Information on Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Ruminant Feeding Regulations

New Zealand's Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy Status

Page last updated: 8 December 2014