Distinction between two bacteria strains vital

9 November 2001

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry asks that any reference to the bacterium outbreak in cattle and goat farms in the Waikato emphasise that this is the subspecies mycoides large colony of Mycoplasma mycoides (MmmLC).

"The failure to make the distinction from subspecies mycoides small colony of Mycoplasma mycoides (MmmSC) jeopardises our trading relationships," said Acting Director Animal Biosecurity, Stuart MacDiarmid.

Mycoplasma mycoides subspecies mycoides small colony (MmmSC) although related to MmmLC, causes a serious disease in cattle, called contagious bovine pleuropneumonia.

The presence of MmmSC in New Zealand would have serious ramifications for trade. New Zealand is free of MmmSC.

"Although that bacterium and the disease it causes are different from what we are seeing in New Zealand, some misunderstandings have arisen, with some trading partners mistakenly thinking we have the more serious MmmSC-related disease," he said.

A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) made up of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and representatives from the Dairy, Meat, and Goat industries, and Massey University veterinary experts are meeting today to consider response options to the outbreak in the Waikato.

A recommendation on a long-term response objective, and the means of achieving this objective will be made by the Director of Animal Biosecurity taking into account recommendations from the TAG.

Outcomes from today's TAG meeting will be released at the end of the day.

For further information:

Philippa White

Contact MPI

for general enquiries phone

0800 00 83 33