New Zealand remains vigilant following UK Foot and Mouth case

4 August 2007

MAF Biosecurity New Zealand is constantly on the look out for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) because of the significant threat it presents to New Zealand's biologically-based economy. Therefore, the confirmation of FMD in cattle on a farm in Surrey, England, is no cause for alarm.

New Zealand does not allow any dairy or meat products into the country that cannot be successfully treated for the risk of FMD. And strict procedures at airports and ports have been designed to prevent the introduction of FMD through the tourism pathway.

Director Passenger Clearance, Leanne Gibson says "confirmation of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) on a farm in Surrey, England reminds us of the importance of our biosecurity system."

"Every year many thousands of visitors flock to our shores to experience our clean, green environment. Yet any one of them could jeopardise that by bringing a pest or disease across our border. Our biosecurity regulations have been developed and implemented to prevent the introduction of such devastating diseases as FMD".

"Notification of the case in Surrey has prompted MAF Biosecurity New Zealand to increase vigilance with already existing border measures, including its risk profiling of passengers and personal inspections at airports".

While New Zealand has never had an outbreak of FMD and remains free from the disease, it is endemic in a number of countries. Numerous outbreaks of FMD occur throughout the world each year, especially in Asia and South America. This year alone there have been 65 reports of FMD outbreaks to the World Organisation for Animal Health, across 15 countries.

For further information, contact:

Helen Keyes, Acting Communications Manager, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand, 04 894 0161, 029 894 0161, Helen.keyes@maf.govt.nz

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