Biosecurity Queensland chief veterinary officer Dr Allison Crook addressed the national saleyards expo in Cairns yesterday with the key message of 'be alert, but not alarmed' in regard to current biosecurity challenges.
Dr Crook reiterated Australia was currently clear of any animal disease outbreaks.
"We are free, I cannot stress that enough, we are free at the moment of lumpy skin disease, foot and mouth disease and African swine fever," she said.
"Our priority is to keep it that way."
Facilitated by the Australian Livestock Markets Association, Dr Crook presented an informational session on the current threats to Australian biosecurity and the potential industry impacts at the two-day forum.
Dr Crook said the three main concerns at present included foot and mouth disease, lumpy skin disease and African swine fever.
"We currently have a situation where we have got three emergency animal disease threats very close to our borders," she said.
The presentation outlined preparedness, detection and control measures were key in the prevention of a potential disease outbreak.
"Queensland's diversity in climate, environment and livestock management presents unique challenges for detection and control of emergency animal diseases," Dr Crook said.
"If one of these EADs was detected, the aim is to eradicate the disease in the shortest possible time, whilst minimising social and economic impacts.
"Quarantine and movement control is going to be critical in terms of stopping infected animals moving."
Dr Crook offered advice to industry producers through the key steps of looking, reporting and protecting.
"Looking is about being familiar with signs of the animal diseases and immediately reporting any suspicions," she said.
"The other is about protection and what can I do? There are a few key actions.
"First is having a biosecurity management plan in place, and that includes knowing who is coming and going, having quarantine considerations for animlas that are introduced and signage up to remind people.
"That is at the farm level."
Dr Crook said a combination of strategies would be utilised at a governance level if a disease were detected.
These strategies ranged from movement controls, tracing and surveillance, destruction of livestock on IPs, vector management and vaccination.
More so, Dr Crook said the state was ready to respond with a strong and tested biosecurity framework, which included a response ready workforce and awareness raising strategies amongst other tools.
"The earlier we get advice or any suspicion of any of these diseases, the earlier we get a test result, and the earlier we can act," she said.
"The most likely pathway is in terms of food that is brought in that is contaminated with the live virus and that gets fed to pigs. Modelling has suggested that is a likely pathway.
"Of course the other pathway is foot and mouth disease being introduced through contaminated objects, such as footwear, and they have to come into contact with certain animals.
"I just ask that you continue to play your part and help protect our livestock industries."
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