New Mycoplasma bovis case 'disappointing but not unexpected'

There are currently 11 "active" properties.
There are currently 11 "active" properties. Photo credit: Getty

A new confirmed case of Mycoplasma bovis is being described as disappointing but not unexpected.

The latest case - on a grazing block in Canterbury - is the second positive case this year and brings the total number of active properties to 11.

The Ministry for Primary Industries said it is connected to the existing Canterbury cluster through animal movements.

David Clark, Federated Farmers' mid-Canterbury president, says the case shows that although progress is being made to eradicate the cattle disease from New Zealand, work still remains.

"It's disappointing that there's an extra farm, particularly in mid-Canterbury, we seem to have been the epicentre of this all the way through, but it's not unexpected," Clark told RNZ on Monday.

"The M bovis programme was always expected to be a 10-year programme to fully eradicate M bovis out of New Zealand, so it's disappointing but not completely unexpected."

He said the current cluster was "fairly small" and appeared to be relatively well linked.

"We've just got to keep at this and get it stomped out but it is very distressing for the particular families that are impacted by this."

Around 170,000 cattle have been culled as a result of the eradication efforts and Clark said the impact on businesses and families affected by the outbreak can be severe both in financial and emotional terms.

M bovis was first confirmed in New Zealand in 2017, though it's believed the virus entered the country two years before that.

A widespread programme to eradicate the disease began in 2018, and more than 260 properties have been confirmed to have been infected with the virus since it was first detected.

Last month the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said an independent review into the country's handling of the outbreak had been launched.

On Friday, MPI also said it was "taking a fresh look" at some of the formerly infected properties to "double-check that all risk of infection has been found".