Current Waiheke Island Update

11.30 am 12 May 2005

Actions resulting from the claimed release of Foot and Mouth Disease on Waiheke Island continue.

MAF and the Police consider the claim a hoax, but given the significant implications, have to treat the claim seriously. No sign of disease has been found, and New Zealand remains foot and mouth disease free.

Operation Waiheke is now very much into the surveillance phase. All stock on Waiheke Island will be checked every 48 hours until the maximum foot and mouth incubation period – 14 days – has gone by. Currently, the Exotic Disease Response Centre has engaged 20 people. The Field Operations Response Team has engaged 31 people in Auckland and on Waiheke Island. About 60 staff at MAF and NZFSA in Wellington are involved in varying capacities. The cost of the operation so far is unknown. There is also a significant opportunity cost for the agencies involved.

No high risk movements and very few low risk movements off Waiheke of susceptible livestock, livestock products and equipment have been identified. There are only two transport operators that move stock from the island, and MAF is confident there are no unknown high risk movements. MAF has still been unable to contact the owners of nine of the 41 property owners on Waiheke. These owners are asked to contact MAF on 0800 80 99 66 urgently.

Movement controls remain in place, including signage at checkpoints. There is a DoC recreation reserve island close to Waiheke (Motuihe Island) that some have thought perhaps at risk from virus plumes or visits since it has sheep on it. This island is not considered a risk. DoC has closed the Waiheke Historic Reserve 'Stony Batter'.

MAF investigates about 20 cases of suspected foot and mouth disease each year. An exotic disease response is not activated until a case of foot and mouth has been identified. MAF response is different in this case because of the direct threat made.

Farmers outside the controlled area who have concerns about the health of their livestock should contact their vet. Farmers on Waiheke Island should call 0800 80 99 66.

Advertisements providing public information and specific information for farmers on Foot and Mouth Disease have been placed in all major newspapers from tomorrow.

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Last Updated: 27 September 2010

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