Media Advisory – Latest Media Conference Re Waiheke Island Situation

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 operation.

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 continues.

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.

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Last Updated: 27 September 2010

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