What is an Emergency Animal Disease?
Emergency animal diseases (EADs) have the potential to cause significant impacts to the Victorian livestock industries. Serious economic and social implications, along with negatively impacted animal, human and environmental health, are all possible.
Under the Australian Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA), the national definition of an EAD is a disease that meets one or more of the following criteria:
It is a known disease that does not occur in an endemic form in Australia (i.e. it is not found regularly), and is considered in the national interest for the country to be free from that disease.
It is a variation of a disease that is endemic in Australia, which if established in Australia would have a national impact.
It is a serious infectious disease of unknown or uncertain cause, which may, on the evidence available at the time, be an entirely new disease or not included in the list of EADs in the EADRA.
It is a known endemic disease in Australia but is occurring in such a severe outbreak form that an emergency response is required to ensure that there is neither a large-scale epidemic of national significance, nor serious loss of market access.
Signs it’s an EAD
- High rate of death or sickness in animals
- Sudden death
- Drop in production
- Rapid spread of disease through a flock or herd
- Blisters, erosions, or ulcers in their mouth, on or around their muzzle, feet, udder, or teats
- Excessive nasal discharge or salivation
- Unusual nervous signs such as tremors, uncharacteristic aggression, or paralysis
- Any unusual disease symptoms
- Diseases affecting multiple species
Stay Vigilant and Educated
As producers, it is important to understand that early detection of animal diseases will help prevent negative impacts on animal health, welfare, trade, regional or national productivity, public health and/or biodiversity. Owners of livestock need to maintain their vigilance, so that the chances of an EAD outbreak are decreased.
It is just as vital for industry professionals such as veterinarians, stock agents, and consultants to know about EADs, and what their responsibilities are if they suspect an EAD. Industry professionals should remember that:
- Early detection and reporting assists in preventing the establishment of exotic diseases, some with human health implications.
- Investigating any suspected EAD generates evidence that helps support Australia’s animal health status claim.
- Veterinarians have legal and professional requirements to report any suspected EADs.
How Do I Report an EAD?
If you have seen any unusual signs of animal disease, call a private vet or a government vet, or the EAD Hotline.
The EAD Hotline is available to report unusual signs of animal disease or suspicion of an emergency or reportable animal disease. These include diseases exotic to Australia such as:
- Foot and Mouth disease,
- African swine fever, and
- Avian influenza.
Other notifiable diseases such as Anthrax or Hendra virus, or notifiable aquatic pests and prohibited matter, should also be reported to this hotline.
The EAD Hotline 1800 675 888 operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Animal Health Australia manages the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA)
Farm Biosecurity website explaining EADs
Agriculture Victoria website on EADs
For further information, please contact the VFF Livestock Group on 1300 882 833 or by email [email protected]
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