Foot-and-mouth disease

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious emergency animal disease. An FMD outbreak could cause major production losses and seriously affect Australia's international livestock trade.

Australia is currently free from FMD. Livestock owners, veterinarians and everyone involved in the livestock supply chain have a critical role to play in preventing an FMD outbreak.

Food outlets that supply waste to be used as animal feed also need to know their legal obligations.

Biosecurity Preparedness Program (Foot-and-mouth disease)

FMD is the single biggest threat to Queensland's livestock industry. In 2013, the Queensland Government initiated a $2.5 million Biosecurity Preparedness Program (FMD) to take action to reduce the risk of FMD establishing in Queensland and to enhance Queensland’s preparedness for an FMD incident. Furthermore, the Program delivered significant collateral benefits for enhanced preparedness for other biosecurity incidents, including a range of animal, plant and aquatic animal pests and diseases.

The Program has been successful in:

  • raising FMD recognition awareness with stakeholders to increase the likelihood of early detection of the disease, meaning a shorter and less resource intensive response
  • raising awareness of the illegal practice of swill feeding and the entry pathways of the FMD virus into Australia to assist in reducing the risk of FMD introduction into Queensland
  • enhancing Queensland’s and national capability to respond to an incident of FMD, particularly in regards to:
    • preparedness for a livestock standstill
    • decision making and strategic use of emergency FMD vaccination
    • response surveillance
    • surge capacity planning
    • laboratory preparedness, particularly exclusion testing and response readiness
    • decision making and planning for mass animal destruction and disposal
    • protocols for internal and external communications
    • document management during a response.

Application of the program outputs will reduce the significant adverse socio-economic impacts on industry, government and community either through the prevention of an FMD incident or improved management of an incident.

While the Program concluded on 30 June 2016, ongoing vigilance and awareness will continue to be part of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ prevention, preparedness, surveillance and response readiness agenda.

Last updated 13 October 2016

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