FAQs related to Public asked to report pest butterfly
Human cases of the H5N1 strain have been caught mainly by people in very close and prolonged contact with poultry in places such as markets and poultry farms, where there is a high density of different species of bird mixing, and where they are exposed to both live and dead birds and their droppings.
New Zealand does not have similar poultry rearing and marketing environments and there is little risk of people in New Zealand being infected through normal contact with birds.
The majority of avian influenza viruses cause no disease in their natural hosts and it is unknown why some strains become virulent in some species under certain circumstances, while others don't.
However; it is thought that inter-species mixing (i.e. quails, geese, ducks and chickens) and high bird population densities, such as those that occur in bird markets in China and other Asian countries, may promote interspecies transmission and subsequent re-assortment of the viruses.
Avian Influenza is a disease of birds caused by Influenza A viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae. Avian influenza viruses are present worldwide and numerous 'subtypes' and 'strains' exist.
Avian influenza viruses are naturally present in many species of wild birds, especially water fowl (ducks and geese). Most are harmless and do not cause disease in humans or birds.
Strains of avian influenza can be categorised as low pathogenic (LPAI) or highly pathogenic (HPAI) on the basis of the severity of clinical signs in chickens. LPAI may cause mild clinical disease in chickens, but are of no concern to human health.
Certain strains of LPAI virus have changed to become highly pathogenic avian influenza. HPAI is a severe form of the disease that spreads quickly, causing sudden death in poultry. All outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in birds to date have been either H5 or H7 subtype viruses (strains of LPAI viruses that have changed to become HPAI), although not all H5 and H7 subtypes cause disease. The H5N1 (Asian strain) avian influenza virus, commonly referred to as bird flu is HPAI.
New Zealand surveillance includes the collection and analysis of heads from cattle, sheep and farmed deer exhibiting signs of nervous disorder or other signs suggestive of a TSE.. A bounty is paid to vets and farmers by MAF to supply the heads and clinical history. Government vets routinely assess all livestock slaughtered in New Zealand meat plants for signs of any nervous disorder. The brains of those exhibiting any such signs are tested. New Zealand has met the OIE standards for testing. In addition to the regular testing, in 1998, the brains of 1,009 clinically normal cattle aged 4 years and over were examined for histopathological lesions of BSE. Sheep numbers tested are less than 40 per annum because insufficient animals exhibiting signs suggestive of scrapie are notified to MAF.
BSE has never been discovered in New Zealand and this country is internationally recognized as free from scrapie. However, because of international consumer concerns over BSE generally, MAF is currently having discussions with the farming and meat industries to strategically reevaluate its systems of surveillance and would consider adopting any 'best practice systems' which might be identified which would enhance NZ assurances of TSE freedom.
It is anticipated that measures under discussion will insure that each year the number of cattle brains examined meets the international standard. Testing of ruminant rations for ruminant proteins to ensure compliance with the ruminant protein regulations is also likely.
Yes. But under strict import protocols designed to prevent the entry of new or harmful organisms. More commonly New Zealand imports germ plasm such as semen or embryos where 'washing' techniques and other import requirements allow them to be imported safely.
Since 1984, there have been five importations of sheep bloodlines from countries other than Australia. Each has been from a country considered to be free from scrapie. Despite this, such imports have been subject to tough conditions including a quarantine period of three-to-five years, an embryo transfer barrier and testing of tissue from the donor sheep. Live cattle have not been imported from Europe for many years. Importation of semen and embryos largely replaced this trade as it was easier and safer.
New Zealand, along with Australia, implemented a temporary suspension on the import of European beef and beef products from 30 countries commencing 8 January 2001. Beef imports are suspended until a certification system is in place that shows beef exports from the EU-15, 14 other European countries and Oman (which also has had 2 BSE cases) meet the EU's standards on BSE protection. This means EU standards will also apply to imports into New Zealand of other countries' beef and beef products.
New Zealand's farmers use grass-fed, pasture-based management systems.
New Zealand has never allowed the importation of meat and bone meal for feeding to livestock.
In addition, on 1 January 2000 a legislated ban became effective on the feeding of ruminant-derived meat and bone meal to all ruminants.
The absence of scrapie and New Zealand's grass-fed, pasture-based farming systems ensures there is an extremely low likelihood of BSE entering the cattle population.
The Biosecurity (Ruminant Protein) Regulations 1999 forbid the feeding of ruminant protein to ruminant animals.
Although New Zealand is free of both BSE and scrapie, our credibility as a source of safe food and our access to overseas markets depends on all food producers abiding by legal requirements such as this ban.
The regulations require that you not:
1. Provide or allow feed containing meat and bone meal (including blood and bone) to be feed to any ruminant animal (including sheep, cattle/dairy cows, deer or goats);
2. Allow ruminant proteins such as meat and bone meal(including blood and bone) which has been applied as a feritilser to be consumed by ruminant animals during subsequent grazing.
Feedmills and rendering plants that are required to operate under a MAF registered ruminant protein control programme must be audited each year. Such audits are done by independent auditors to verify that the programme operator is managing and minimising the risk of contamination of feed intended for ruminant animals. MAF's compliance and investigation group (CIG) audits compliance by feed suppliers, farmers, and organic fertiliser distributors. Suspected breaches of the ruminant protein regulations may be referred to the MAF Enforcement Unit or to CIG.
If you would like further details on the Ruminant Protein Regulations contact Don Crump, MAF Policy, Ph 04 498 9849.
In July 2000, the EU Scientific Steering Committee (EU SSC) published the results of a 'Geographical BSE-Risk Assessment' of 24 countries including New Zealand which was classified in Category 1, the lowest risk category (lowest risk being the highest achievable category) along with Australia, Norway, Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile. The assessment rated the 'likelihood' that live cattle could be clinically or pre-clinically infected with the BSE agent. The EU SSC again assessed New Zealand's Geographical BSE risk in 2002 the report published in November 2002 again classified NZ as Category 1.
Under the EU SSC assessment the US and Canada are Category 2, i.e. "unlikely but not excluded." A case of BSE has subsequently been detected in Canada in May 2003.
Despite the very low risk of BSE to New Zealand, the New Zealand industry in close consultation with the government agencies to constantly review and improve the measures that are in place to ensure they are of the highest standards.
The disease spreads when cud-chewing animals like cattle, sheep, goat, deer, llamas and alpacas consume feed derived from BSE-infected cattle. It takes less than one gram (the size of a peppercorn) of brain tissue from a BSE-infected animal to cause an infection. Therefore you must not feed cud-chewing animals anything that contains ruminant protein such as meat-and-bone-meal (MBM), blood meal, blood-and-bone meal and bone meal.
BSE, which occurs in adult cattle, is one of a group of brain wasting diseases (known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies or TSEs). It was was first identified in Britain in 1986. The disease has an incubation period of 3-5 years. Brain cells develop holes resulting in the loss of control of limbs, trembling, wide-eyed staring, swaying of the head, and erratic behaviour including charging, hence the term 'mad cow disease'.
Scrapie is a TSE that has been known for about 250 years to occur in sheep and goats.
Other TSEs include chronic wasting disease (CWD) that occurs in deer and elk, and TME, or transmissible mink encephalopathy, which occurs rarely in mink.
There are several theories as to the origin of BSE. A common one is that scrapie crossed the species barrier through feeding meat and bone meal made from sheep infected with scrapie. The disease was then spread, through the UK cattle population, by feeding meat and bone meal to cattle from infected ruminant sources including meal made from cattle infected with BSE. Another mainstream theory of the origin of BSE is that it arose spontaneously in cattle, much as sporadic Creutzfeldt Jakob disease is believed to arise in humans.
New Zealand's livestock populations are free from TSEs - scrapie in sheep and goats, BSE in cows and CWD in deer.
New Zealand is recognized as free from scrapie by the European Commission. Scrapie was detected in imported sheep in the 1950s when the disease was eradicated by slaughtering and disposing of all in-contact sheep and resting or destocking pastures. Another incident occurred in the 1970s when the sheep concerned were still held in quarantine. The animals were euthanased and their carcasses burnt.
BSE has never been reported or recorded in NZ.
Since 1952, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has undertaken surveillance for Scrapie.
Since 1990, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has undertaken active surveillance for scrapie, BSE and chronic wasting disease in deer.
Since the mid 1950s, only Australian meat and bone meal that has been heat-treated and accompanied by a valid import permit, has been permitted entry to New Zealand. N.B Australia is also free of BSE and scrapie. This material was not imported for use as feed.
The absence of scrapie, BSE and New Zealand's grass-fed, pasture-based farming systems ensures there is an extremely low likelihood of BSE entering the cattle population, simply because cattle are not feed formulated rations in feed lots. This fact is recognised by the EU Scientific Steering Committee which has categorised New Zealand highly unlikely to have cattle clinically or pre-clinically infected with BSE. .
In addition a voluntary ban was introduced on the feeding of ruminant-derived protein except milk for calves to all ruminants. This was followed by comprehensive legislation banning the feeding of ruminant protein to ruminants including spreading of meat and bone meal on pasture as fertilizer, which took effect from 1 Jan 2000.
Since 1990, the Ministry of Agriculture's active surveillance program has included:
- In 1988, a retrospective study of fixed adult bovine brain sections held in animal pathology laboratories was under taken for histopathological evidence of BSE. A total of 50 brains was examined and no lesions were found suggestive of BSE.
- An active education program to inform veterinarians, farmers and others of the clinical signs associated with TSEs
- A financial credit to those who submit for laboratory examination brains from sheep, goats, cattle or deer exhibiting signs of progressive central nervous system disease. From 1996 to 2000 almost 700 brains have been tested under such a program with no evidence of any TSE being found.
- Monitoring of the 13 cattle imported from the UK between 1982 and 1988. All are now dead.
- From January 1990 to December 2002 diagnostic vets screened 6,576 cases presenting clinical signs of nervous disease in cattle. In 1998 an additional 1,009 brains for clinically normal cattle aged 4 years and older were screen for histopathological lesions of BSE. None were found.
New Zealand is free from BSE. The ban on feeding ruminant protein to ruminant animals is one of the measures that are in place to keep the country free from BSE.
New Zealand’s livestock industry is heavily export oriented. We export about 95% of our dairy produce, 90% of lamb, 80% of mutton and 80% of beef. Other countries will not buy our produce if we have an outbreak of BSE. If BSE surfaces here, it will wreak havoc not only on the country’s economy but the livelihood of thousands of farmers will be jeopardised. It will also take many, many years to regain the confidence of the importing countries.
There are lessons to be learnt from BSE occurrences in other countries. It cost Canada some $11 million per day in lost export earnings after the first case was detected there in 2003. In Japan, 64 companies filed for bankruptcy following BSE detection there. We simply cannot afford to have a case of BSE here in New Zealand. It is everybody’s responsibility to keep New Zealand free from this disease.
In healthy hives, DWV tends to remain in low levels in the bees and exists as a symptomless, low-grade infection. However, when the bees are infested with varroa and the virus concentrations rise, bees emerge from the pupa stage with a variety of deformities such as stubby, useless wings, shortened, rounded abdomens, miscoloring and paralysis. Typically, the individually affected bees will be driven from the hive and in any case they survive less than 48 hours.
Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) is a virus which affects honey bees. It was first isolated from a sample of symptomatic honeybees from Japan in the early 1980s and is currently distributed worldwide. The virus is spread vertically (from queen to offspring via the egg) and horizontally (from bee to bee) through several means including faecal oral spread and the vector varroa mite. Varroa is believed to induce the virus, affect bee immunity, and also inoculate it directly into bee larvae. Clinical signs associated with the virus (disease) occur when hives are parasitized with varroa mite.
DWV is more likely to affect beehives weakened by the varroa bee mite. Beekeepers with healthy hives and good varroa management practices are much less likely to be affected by DWV.
It may have been here for sometime and may already be widespread. Biosecurity New Zealand is doing tracing and surveillance to find this out.
There are no known effects on environmental or human health.
Biosecurity New Zealand will not be considering controlled areas or restricted place notices. Imposing a controlled area without a fuller picture of the distribution of DWV could place unnecessary restrictions on beekeeping businesses, with no benefit.
We have only just received the results and will be working with the affected beekeepers on tracing their bee movements. We are carrying out immediate surveillance.
The virus may have been here for some time. Clinical disease is often associated with varroa mite infestation in bees.
It has been found in Waikato and Northland. A sample tested from the South Island was negative for Deformed Wing Virus.
DWV has not been declared an unwanted organism. Biosecurity New Zealand cannot make any judgements on its status until results of tracing and surveillance are available.
A beekeeper notified Biosecurity New Zealand in late February via the Exotic Pest and Disease 0800 number (0800 80 99 66). The disease was confirmed by a new Polymerase Chain Reaction test, which analyses genetic material, developed and implemented at the Investigation and Diagnostic Centre in Wallaceville. It is the first laboratory confirmation of the virus in New Zealand.