New Zealand has detected its first cases of a serious bacterial cattle disease, the Primary Industries ministry said on Tuesday, briefly knocking the currency of the world’s largest dairy exporter.The infection known as mycoplasma bovis is common in many countries and can have a serious effect on cattle, but does not infect humans or present food safety risks to products such as milk or milk products, the ministry said in a statement.
The New Zealand dollar briefly dipped on news of the discovery in a dairy herd on the country’s South Island, but quickly bounced back.
“At this stage it seems to be very localised and does not seem to affect the entire bovine industry,” said Craig Ebert, senior economist at BNZ.
“We’ll be monitoring this over coming days though. One thing we’ll be watchful for is a potential knee-jerk reaction from other countries who import dairy from New Zealand. It could just mean a temporary halting of shipments but this is something we’ll keep an eye out for.”
Dairy accounts for about 25 percent of New Zealand’s exports and the country promotes itself as a safe, green supplier.
The ministry said 14 cows on the South Canterbury property had tested positive for the disease and about another 150 cows could be affected. Stock movement would be restricted while the scale of infection was determined.
“This bacterial disease can… have serious effects on cattle including udder infection (mastitis), abortion, pneumonia and arthritis,” the ministry’s director of response Geoff Gwyn said in the statement.
“Right now we’re working with the farmer to contain the disease to the affected farm and treat the animals showing symptoms.”
Source: The times of India