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SA maintains low OJD status

MEDIA RELEASE

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Prevalence areas for fatal sheep disease OJD will be downgraded in Victoria, Western Australia and some parts of New South Wales from 1 January 2011.

Dr Rob Rahaley, South Australian Chief Veterinary Officer, urges all sheep producers to familiarise themselves with the new movement requirements, under the national Ovine Johne’s Disease (OJD) control program.
“The national sheep industry recently recommended these changes in prevalence areas and scores, as a result of increased detections in Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales,” Dr Rahaley said.
“While South Australia’s prevalence areas have not changed, producers wanting to import sheep from medium to high prevalence areas interstate, or from Kangaroo Island (medium prevalence area), must be familiar with the new rules.

“This is critical for mainland South Australia to maintain its low OJD prevalence rating and to help to further prevent the spread of the disease when trading sheep.

“Our low prevalence area status is evidence of industry and government’s $9 million investment, since 1998, in controlling the disease.”

The reclassification of the prevalence areas and OJD scores will result in Victoria’s north-west and Western Australia’s prevalence areas dropping from a score of 4 to 2, while mainland SA retains a score of 4. 

Dr Rahaley said the relevance of this to cross border trade is the key premise of the national OJD program.

“We don’t want our farmers sourcing sheep (other than lambs for fattening) from a property where the cumulative OJD score is less than score 4. Each decreasing score level reflects a four-fold increase to the risk of introducing OJD,” he said.

Minimising the increase in the prevalence of OJD lowers the cost of production for the state’s sheep and lamb producers, while also ensuring domestic and overseas market access.

Dr Rahaley said Kangaroo Island is the stand-out example as the only region in Australia to achieve a decrease in the incidence of OJD infected properties, due to the hard work of local producers, veterinarians and PIRSA staff.
He also said it is a timely reminder to producers, that sheep moved in and out of the State must also bear an NLIS tag, and be accompanied by a completed Sheep Health Statement and National Vendor Declaration.
Letters have been sent to sheep producers across the State, advising them of these changes. For more information contact Biosecurity SA or visit www.ojd.com.au