Emergency Animal Disease
Last updated 22 September 2022
Australia currently has a disease-free status for foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease, however all landholders need to play an active role in monitoring and reporting any suspect cases.
What are emergency animal diseases?
An emergency animal disease is a disease that meets one or more of the following points:
- a known disease that doesn’t normally occur in Australia, and is considered in the national interest for the country to be free from that disease
- a variation of a disease that does occur in Australia, and would have a national impact
- a serious infectious disease of unknown or uncertain cause, which may not be on the national list of emergency diseases
- a disease that occurs sporadically in Australia, but is occurring in such a severe outbreak form that an emergency response is required.
Risk of foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease
These emergency animal diseases have recently been reported in countries close to our international borders. This is a stark reminder of the risk that exotic diseases play and our shared role in protecting our agricultural industry.
Your support is essential to protect NSW’s clean reputation and ensure ongoing market access.
It is critical that:
- all livestock owners know what these diseases look like
- that you check your animals regularly
- that you report any suspect signs immediately to your local district vet (1300 295 299) or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline (1800 675 888).
Local Land Services staff are on the ground to help you protect your livestock and industry from these exotic diseases. Working with landholders to monitor and report emergency animal diseases is one of our key roles.
What do I need to do?
Biosecurity is a shared responsibility and landholders need to actively monitor for these diseases and report any suspected cases.
Foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease are nationally notifiable diseases. This means an animal showing suspect signs of the disease must be reported to a Local Land Services District Veterinarian on 1300 795 299 or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.
What should I look for?
Landholders need to actively monitor for signs of emergency animal diseases. The information below will help you identify and report suspect cases:
How can I protect my farm from disease?
Attend an EAD/Biosecurity event or watch live recordings of past EAD events for more information about what you can do to protect Australia's livestock from FMD and LSD.
We strongly encourage you to use this threat as an opportunity to update your farm biosecurity plan.
A farm biosecurity plan will help you identify and prioritise what practices you need to implement to protect against diseases such as foot and mouth disease and lumpy skin disease.
Do not feed swill to pigs
Swill feeding is the traditional name for feeding food scraps to pigs.
It is illegal to give pigs access to prohibited pig feed which includes meat, animal products and imported dairy goods or anything that has been in contact with these products.
This practice has caused foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks overseas.
Read more about swill feeding.
About foot and mouth disease
Foot and mouth disease is a highly contagious animal disease that affects all cloven-hoofed animals including cattle, sheep, goats, camelids (eg alpacas, llamas and camels), deer and pigs. Cloven-hoofed animals are those with a split toe. It does not affect horses.
The virus is carried by live animals and in meat and dairy products, as well as in soil, bones, untreated hides, vehicles and equipment used with these animals. It can also be carried on people’s clothing and footwear.
It can survive in frozen, chilled and freeze-dried foods including meat and dairy products.
Read more about foot-and-mouth disease
About lumpy skin disease
Lumpy skin disease is a highly infectious viral disease that affects all breeds of cattle and water buffalo. It does not affect other types of livestock or humans.
It is primarily spread by biting insects such as mosquitoes, biting flies and possibly ticks. It can also be spread through direct contact between animals via secretions and excretions.
Contaminated feed, water, vehicles and iatrogenic means (eg repeated use of needles on different animals) can all spread the disease. Lumpy skin disease may be shed in semen and may be present in milk of infected animals.
Read more about lumpy-skin-disease