Massey University to help eradicate M. bovis from NZ

Monday, 09 March, 2020

Massey University to help eradicate <em>M. bovis</em> from NZ

The Mycoplasma bovis Programme, comprising the Ministry for Primary Industries, DairyNZ and Beef + Lamb New Zealand, has appointed Massey University to research the direct impacts of the disease in a one- to two-year study, as part of its efforts to accelerate its eradication. Researchers will investigate the impact of M. bovis on individual animals and herds within farms infected with the disease, measuring how it affects infected animals, including any physical signs, effects on milk yield and composition, and the duration of these effects.

“The results of this project will contribute evidence to help in the detection of M. bovis, improve our surveillance tools and increase our understanding of how the disease spreads under different New Zealand farming systems, which is key in terms of eradication. It will also help us to quantify the impacts, which supports some of the recommendations made in a recent Technical Advisory Group report,” said Dr John Roche, MPI Chief Science Advisor and Chair of the M. bovis Strategic Science Advisory Group.

The study will only analyse properties already known to be positive for M. bovis; the properties will only be studied until the agreed dates for depopulation. No cattle will be intentionally infected. A bacterial disease, M. bovis can cause animal welfare and productivity issues, particularly in dairy cattle, including mastitis that does not respond to treatment, severe lameness and late-term abortions. The M. bovis science plan identified the direct impacts study as a high priority, developed by the SSAG to accelerate eradication of the disease in New Zealand. $30 million has been allocated for M. bovis research projects, guided by the science plan.

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