Australia to import live lumpy skin disease virus

The Australian government agreed to an industry request to open a pathway to import live lumpy skin disease virus to accelerate diagnostic capability and enable testing of lumpy skin disease vaccines.

The minister for agriculture said the importation decision followed consultation, risk assessment and appropriate regulatory controls, and would help Australia ensure the industry has the best possible vaccine protection for emergency use and a well-developed national diagnostic capacity for early detection.

The decision follows a written request from the Cattle Council of Australia which resolved that importing the live virus was a necessary step to give Australian scientists the best chance to control the disease in the event of an outbreak.

“Lumpy skin disease is a serious disease of cattle and water buffalo, with potential for considerable animal welfare implications and economic losses,” Minister Littleproud said.

“It has never occurred in Australia but is an emerging threat as it continues to spread through Asia and is now present in Indonesia.

“Import of the live virus is our best bet to prepare and protect Australia, and it is not a decision that we have taken lightly. Live virus would only be held at our world-leading Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) under strict containment.”

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