Exotic Animal Disease Newsletter Vol 5 Issue 2 - May 2011

​Foot and Mouth disease

In Vol. 5 issue 1 we reported on the outbreaks of FMD in Japan, Korea and Bulgaria.

This is a map showing foot and mouth outbreak areas in the world.


The good news is that in May 2011 at the OIE General Assembly, the Philippines expect to be declared free of FMD (the last reported case was in December 2005).  This is a great success for the South East Asia and China FMD (SEACFMD) campaign coordinated by the OIE and to which Australia is a significant contributor.


A further 11 outbreaks have occurred in Bulgaria close to the border with Turkey.  Bulgarian authorities are now reported to be reinstating a fence along the border with Turkey to prevent the movement of animals across the border.

South Korea

The large outbreak in South Korea is estimated to have cost in excess of US$3 million, with approximately 3.4 million livestock (including 1/3 of the national pigs) destroyed. The last case was reported on 21 April 2011.

The government has implemented a FMD vaccination program with livestock owners paying for the vaccine. Additional measures include farming permits only being issued to cattle and pig owners who have the required facilities and completed biosecurity training, a new compensation scheme where payments will not be based only on the number of animals slaughtered but also the stage on the control campaign, compulsory education for foreign farmer workers, monitoring of disposal sites to prevent environmental contamination and regular exercises to test response arrangements.

Australia’s preparedness

Animal Health Australia convened a meeting of peak industry bodies and government representatives  in Melbourne on 11 April 2011 to review the  FMD policy. Whilst the overall strategy remains control with a view to eradication, the measures to be implemented were reviewed. Key aspects included the use of vaccines, the handling of milk in the event of an outbreak and proof of freedom requirements. Over the next 12 months, working groups will draft changes to the current AUSVETPLAN strategy for FMD.


Indonesia has allocated approximately US$17.6 million to rabies control over the next 2 years, with US$5 million to be spent in Bali in 2011. During 2010, 57,800 people were bitten by dogs on Bali and 119 human cases of rabies were confirmed. Other areas to be targeted include Nias Island and West Maluku Tenggara.

Q fever

The outbreak of Q fever in the Netherlands has been reported in this newsletter previously. Since 2007 there have been more than 4,000 human cases, with 11 deaths in 2010.

The outbreak has been associated with the development of mega dairy goat farms. Control measures now focus on the annual vaccination of sheep and dairy goats. (IMED 2011, Vienna, Austria, Feb 2011, Session 17)

Tammar wallaby mortalities

In November 2010, mortalities affecting Tammar wallabies were reported in NSW, ACT and WA. Wallabies were found dead in good condition. Outbreaks of Tammar Sudden Death Syndrome have been reported since 1998 and are associated with a virus of the Orbivirus genus, probably from the Eubenangee serogroup. Outbreaks coincide with seasons when large populations of Culicoides sp. are present. A fact sheet on this syndrome is available from the Australian Wildlife Health Network.

Transboundary animal diseases

The OIE has published the Atlas of Transboundary Animal Diseases. It includes key images of clinical signs and post mortem lesions of 29 OIE notifiable diseases. Website


A tiger and 14 lions were destroyed in the Tehran zoo after they were found to be infected with glanders. It is possible the animals were fed contaminated meat. The animals were destroyed on public health grounds as they were too difficult to treat.

Peste des petits ruminants
Recently, Tunisia reported to the OIE cases of PPR in sheep with an apparent case fatality rate of 50%. 

This paramyxovirus has recently spread from Africa to the Middle East and beyond. In the past 12 months, cases have been reported in Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Kuwait and 17 other African countries.

PPR is similar to rinderpest but predominantly affects sheep and goats.

Clinically, fever is followed by depression, anorexia, mucopurulent nasal discharge and conjunctivitis. Oral lesions include hyperaemia of mucous membranes and small areas of necrosis sloughing to reveal shallow ulcers. Severe diarrhea results in dehydration and death. The mortality rate can be high.


Atypical myopathy
Large outbreaks of atypical myopathy have been reported in horses at pasture in Europe since the 1980’s. A similar disease is seen in the USA where it is called season pasture myopathy.

Clinically affected horses show profuse sweating, muscle twitching, weakness, reluctance to move, recumbancy and death in 72 hours. Cause was unknown.

Recently researchers in Switzerland linked the presence of the lethal toxin of Clostridium sordellii to cases of  atypical myopathy.

Equine genital cancer
A novel papillomavirus, Equus caballus papillomavirus-2, has recently been detected in equine genital squamous cell carcinomas and associated premalignant lesions from horses in the UK and Australia: website

Plasmodium knowlesi is the most recently identified malarial parasite of humans. Recent work has shown that it is a true zoonosis. Monkeys are the reservoir host. 78% of wild macaques in Sarawak were found to be infected. P. knowlesi is a significant cause of human malaria in Malaysian Borneo, but P. knowlesi is yet to adapt to humans : website

Spotted fever group (SFG) rickettsioses are caused by obligate intracellular gram-negative bacteria of the genus Rickettsia and are transmitted by hematophagous arthropods, mainly ticks. These zoonoses are important emerging vector-borne infections of humans worldwide. They share characteristic clinical features, including fever, rash, and sometimes an inoculation eschar at the bite site, depending on the rickettsial agent that is involved .
In Oceania, tick-borne rickettsioses have been reported primarily in Australia. They include Queensland tick typhus (R. australis) along the east coast of Australia, Flinders Island spotted fever (R. honei) in southeast Australia, and variant Flinders Island spotted fever (R. honei strain "marmionii") in eastern Australia. Furthermore, the DNA of at least 8 incompletely described SFG rickettsiae have been detected in ticks, and the pathogenicity of these rickettsiae remains unknown. Additionally, R. felis, the agent of flea-borne SFG rickettsiosis, has been found in Western Australia, New Zealand, and recently in New Caledonia.

Recently, Rickettsia africae (the agent of African tick-bite fever, ATBF), was detected from 3 specimens of Amblyomma loculosum ticks collected from humans and birds in New Caledonia: website

The first reported human infections with R. felis in Australia were recently reported in 2 adults and three children in Victoria following exposure to kittens and fleas. website

This follows the study reporting R. felis and Bartonella clarridgeiae in cats and fleas in Australia: website These findings raise the concern that the incidence of R. felis may be under reported in humans in Australia.

Stop Press

Chinese researchers have recently reported a new virus associated with a severe viral infection of ducks causing egg drop, reduced feed intake and ovary-oviduct disease.  This syndrome spread to most duck rearing areas of China in 2010.

The virus has been named Baiyangdian (BYD) virus and  is a flavivirus closely related to Tembusu virus: website


Recently AHA has published updated versions of the disease control strategies for equine influenza and rabies.

Further information on these diseases can be obtained from the AUSVETPLAN: website.  While you are there check out the latest edition of Animal Health Surveillance Quarterly for information on diseases in livestock in Australia.

For further information contact Surveillance and EAD Coordination and Response, Animal Health Programs, Animal Division,
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Canberra

Further information on these diseases can be obtained from the AUSVETPLAN website

While you are there check out the latest edition of Animal Health Surveillance Quarterly for information on diseases in livestock in Australia. 





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