Northern Australian Biosecurity Surveillance (NABS) activities in Western Australia

Page last updated: Thursday, 27 August 2020 - 11:00am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

The Northern Australia Biosecurity Surveillance (NABS) project is a coordinated surveillance program to enhance the early detection of exotic disease incursions and to provide sufficient surveillance information to underpin proof of freedom from trade-sensitive diseases in northern Australia.

NABS was established through the Australian Government Developing Northern Australia and Agricultural Competitiveness White Papers in 2016. It is funded by the Commonwealth Government and supported by the Western Australian, Northern Territory and Queensland jurisdictions and Animal Health Australia. For more information about the program, see the NABS webpage.

The activities taking place in WA as part of the NABS project are outlined below.

NABS activities in Western Australia

The NABS program in WA is focused on activities likely to increase the detection of important diseases of animals. Residents, livestock owners and veterinarians in northern Australia are best placed to spot and report unusual signs of disease in animals and are encouraged to participate in the NABS activities.

Priority diseases that may enter northern Australia and which would cause significant damage to our livestock industries are listed below. Some of these diseases will affect livestock and companion animals and several are zoonotic (can affect people).

NABS priority diseases list

Priority disease Species affected Signs Zoonotic 
Foot-and-mouth disease
  • cattle, sheep, pigs, goats
  • fever
  • blisters on mouth and feet
  • salivation
  • lameness
Screw worm fly
  • all mammals including cattle, dogs, wildlife 

Maggots in:

  • skin wounds
  • eyes,
  • umbilical cord
Lumpy skin disease
  • cattle
  • multiple, raised skin lesions
  • fever
  • salivation
  • nasal discharge
Rift Valley fever
  • cattle, sheep and goats
  • high death rate in calves
  • abortion in cows
  • fever
Haemorrhagic septicaemia
  • cattle, buffalo
  • high fever, respiratory distress
  • high death rate
  • sudden death - especially in buffalo
Bluetongue virus (exotic serotypes)
  • cattle, sheep, goats
  • no signs in cattle

Avian influenza (highly pathogenic)

  • poultry
  • respiratory distress
  • death in birds

Aujeszky's disease

  • pigs, cattle, sheep, goats
  • dogs and cats
  • high death rate in piglets with or without nervous signs
  • respiratory signs in weaner pigs
  • abortion, reduced viable litters in sows
  • localised itching and death in cattle
  • intense itching, salivation in cats and dogs
  • all animals
  • dogs, cats, dingoes, foxes – sudden change in temperament, lack of fear, salivation, aggression
  • horses, cattle – excitation or dullness, salivation, obvious nervous involvement
Hendra virus
  • horses
  • neurological signs
  • respiratory distress
  • horses, camels, cattle
  • dogs and cats
  • fever, weakness
  • swelling of legs and brisket
  • death in horses and donkeys
  • wasting, anaemia
  • dogs and cats die suddenly, may show nervous signs
Newcastle disease (virulent) 
  • poultry


  • depressed
  • swelling of comb
  • may show neurological or respiratory signs
  • death
  • horses, donkeys
  • dogs and cats
  • fever
  • coughing
  • respiratory distress
  • thick nasal discharge
  • skin lesions

Contact information

Marion Seymour
+61 (0)8 9651 0534