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Friday 13 May 2005
A press conference will be held at MAF at 11.30am today (Friday 13 May) - MAF
Terrace entrance, 101-103 The Terrace, Wellington.
No evidence of disease has been found on Waiheke Island to date and the
surveillance operation is continuing.
Much has been made in the media that today is "D-Day" for Waiheke Island. It
is more correct to say that today is the first day that MAF would expect to
observe visible symptoms of foot and mouth disease, if it is present. The longer
the period without symptoms, the more confident we can be that this is a hoax,
but the incubation period can be up to 14 days – hence the length of the
MAF advises that those planning on making a special trip to Waiheke to look
at the response are wasting their time – there is little to see. However, those
with a legitimate reason to travel to the island should feel free to do so.
There have been some claimed "sightings" of MAF "responses" outside of
Waiheke Island. MAF is not conducting any FMD response activities beyond Waiheke
Island at this time.
MFAT and the New Zealand Food Safety Authority continue to work with overseas
trading partners to keep them informed of developments, and to ensure trade
MAF reminds farmers of the need to be vigilant for the symptoms of Foot and
Mouth. Farmers on Waiheke should call 0800 80 99 66. Farmers elsewhere should
call their vet.
MAF says that it receives about 20 suspected cases of FMD each year. It is
likely that with heightened awareness of FMD right now, greater-than-usual
numbers of suspected cases could be reported. Any such reports are not
necessarily linked to Operation Waiheke. All will be investigated by MAF.
MAF has today launched an awareness campaign aimed at livestock owners
throughout New Zealand. This will include newspaper advertising and visits to
saleyards with information in coming weeks.