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27 August 1997
The Ministry of Agriculture has received positive tests results for rabbit calicivirus disease (RCD) from eight rabbits collected from inside its declared Controlled Area in Cromwell.
The rabbits were from the farm which returned a positive result yesterday, and from a neighbouring farm. This farm has now been added to the farms within the Controlled Area which have Restricted Place notices in place, bringing the total number with Restricted Notices to five.
MAF officials suspect that other properties within the Controlled Area also have RCD.
Roadblocks staffed by Police and MAF staff have been set up by the Police on all roads leading out of the Controlled Area to prevent the movement of rabbit infected material
Meanwhile, visual surveys are being carried out on rabbit prone areas throughout most of the country, both North and South Island. All surveys are being carried out with the assistance and cooperation of local regional councils. Some have been carried out by helicopter and others on the ground, and are being carried out to establish the extent of the spread of the virus.
Results from laboratory tests on rabbits from Twizel, whose post mortem results have shown suspicious signs, are expected tomorrow afternoon, and decisions about the need for any further control will be made after that.
Most other areas covered to date have shown normal rabbit numbers, indicating that the virus is not present there.
MAF is also running tests to establish whether other unwanted diseases may have come in with the illegal introduction of RCD. The risk is considered to be low, but must be investigated.
Media inquiries to:
Dr Barry O'Neil, Chief Veterinary Officer, MAF Regulatory Authority (04) 474 4128
Debbie Gee, Manager, Corporate Communications (04) 474 4258