How could LSD be spread between herds within Australia?
The two main methods of spread of the LSD virus in the cattle population are through movement of infected animals and via infected biting arthropods (such as ticks, biting flies and mosquitoes).
The movement of contaminated equipment from infected properties is also a risk. Disease transmission by direct contact between animals can occur. Movement of contaminated vehicles, feed and water, and re-use of equipment such as hypodermic needles will all be important methods of spread within Australia if LSD is introduced. Infected bulls can excrete the virus in semen and experimental transmission has been demonstrated.
All livestock owners should have good biosecurity measures in place on their property, including accurate records of livestock movement. To access free farm biosecurity advice and resources visit farmbiosecurity.com.au.
What is being done to prevent LSD entry?
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has strict import conditions on products of animal origin and high-risk items entering Australia through traveller, mail, and cargo pathways. The disease status of our trading partners are regularly monitored to ensure the risk of disease entry is managed.
Australia is actively engaging with Indonesia to provide assistance in their efforts to control LSD.
What would happen if LSD entered Australia?
Australian commonwealth and state and territory governments and peak industry bodies are signatories to the national Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA). This is a contractual arrangement between Australia’s governments and industry groups to collectively reduce the risk of disease incursions and manage a response if an outbreak occurs.
The EADRA commits all signatories, including industry, to preparedness and early detection activities, including good on-property biosecurity, reporting any suspicion of disease, and maintaining good traceability. All parties that are signatories to the EADRA commit to the participation in an EAD response and to contribute to funding the eligible costs of responding to an EAD by which they are affected.
Australia’s Veterinary Emergency Plan (AUSVETPLAN) contains the nationally agreed approach for the response to an outbreak of LSD in Australia. Government and industry signatories to the EADRA have agreed to a detailed contingency plan for responding to the outbreak of any of the major exotic animal diseases, including LSD. For full details see AUSVETPLAN - Disease Strategies.
The national objective is to eradicate an incursion of LSD as quickly as possible. Australia’s Veterinary Emergency Plan (AUSVETPLAN) is the nationally agreed approach to how the Governments and industry would control and eradicate an outbreak. Depending on the location and extent of the outbreak, eradication measures would include movement restrictions, vaccination, humane destruction of infected animals, disinfection of infected properties and a vector control program.
Further information on national response frameworks can be found at Animal Health Australia and National pest & disease outbreaks - https://www.outbreak.gov.au/how-we-respond-to-outbreaks
Are there vaccines available?
While there are vaccines available overseas, there are none currently available for use in Australia. Australian governments and industry are currently undertaking activity to identify and obtain regulatory approval of an appropriate vaccine to have available if an incursion occurs.
It is not intended to vaccinate animals before an LSD incursion. If Australia vaccinated animals against LSD prior to an incursion, then Australia would lose its LSD disease-free status, in accordance with World organisation for Animal Health standards, which would negatively affect international export market access.
How to protect your livestock from LSD?
Livestock producers must be alert for signs of disease in their animals. If animals are showing signs of disease that are consistent with LSD, this needs to be reported as a matter of urgency to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888 or to your local veterinarian.
To reduce the risk of any emergency animal diseases occurring in your animals:
- Isolate new animals for 7–10 days.
- Keep fences secure to ensure stray animals do not enter.
- Have an allocated area away from livestock where contractors/farm visitors park vehicles.
Register your property and meet livestock identification and movement requirements
Western Australia has a mandatory livestock ownership, identification and movement system.
If an outbreak occurred, traceability of infected or exposed livestock would be critical for Australia to control and eradicate the disease.
Livestock owners should visit our Livestock ownership, identification and movement in Western Australia webpage to learn more about how to meet these requirements.
Learn more about LSD
For more information about the signs of LSD or LSD prevention, contact your local DPIRD veterinarian.
Australia’s Veterinary Emergency Plan (AUSVETPLAN) contains the nationally agreed approach for the response to an outbreak of LSD in Australia.
Also refer to the Emergency Animal Diseases Hub - FMD and lumpy skin diseases, which provides further information and useful resources.