Clues to cow disease spread

The South Canterbury farmer whose property was first identified as infected with Mycoplasma bovis now fears the disease might also be present further north.

Glenavy farmer Aad van Leeuwen's comments come after the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) announced yesterday the cattle disease was present in Otago.

It had been hoped the outbreak, first detected on Mr van Leeuwen's Bennetts Rd farm on July 22, and then on his nearby Dog Kennel Rd farm on July 31, was confined to the South Canterbury area.

MPI said blood test results from a farm in the Oamaru area - known to have had a ''direct connection'' with the Bennetts Rd farm prior to its current lockdown - showed ''some animals have been infected with the disease''.

Mr van Leeuwen, contacted by the Otago Daily Times while in North America trying to learn about the disease, said he expected the news of the disease at the Otago farm, which had been ''under MPI control for three weeks''.

The farm belonged to a person who had bought bobby calves from his Bennetts Rd farm.

The Van Leeuwen Dairy Group conducted its own investigation and found a cow from Mid-Canterbury that had arrived on the Dog Kennel Rd farm prior to the outbreak.

But he did not believe a possible link to the disease being further north was being taken seriously enough.

Last night, an MPI spokeswoman said the ministry was aware of the cow but had determined the situation was low-risk.

There were no other positive results - other than the Oamaru-area farm - and ''there are no further immediate concerns'', she said.

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