Australian Chief Veterinarian Dr Mark Schipp and Deputy Chief Veterinarian Dr Beth Cookson are visiting Indonesia to discuss animal health and biosecurity cooperation.
The visit comes as there has been a recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia, not seen before in the country since 1986, confirmed by WHO in 1990. Australia remains free of foot-and-mouth disease.
Foot-and-mouth disease is a contagious viral disease that affects cattle, sheep, goats and pigs. Symptoms include blisters on the mouth and animals drooling or limping.
“Australia is already working closely with Indonesia to control animal diseases in our region and stands ready to provide additional support to help combat and contain the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Java and Sumatra” , said Schipp.
Another point of discussion with senior Indonesian government officials is the outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) on the island of Sumatra.
Schipp added that Australian officials will meet with officials from the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture and the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Indonesian office.
The government said the recent outbreaks served to underscore the importance of international biosecurity cooperation to protect Australia’s interests.
Cookson stressed the importance of knowledge sharing to understand potential threats to Australia’s ecosystem.
“As part of this visit, we will be gathering information on the ground with our embassy staff, including speaking with the local meat and livestock office in Australia.
“And we will have the opportunity to discuss how we can build on existing partnerships to increase our support,” Cookson said.
Cookson also visited Indonesia in April, meeting with officials there.
Earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) expressed concern over the outbreak, saying the risk to Australia was low and it will offer assistance to Indonesia.
According to the modeling by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science in 2013, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Australia would cost an estimated $50 billion over 10 years.
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