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Tuesday, 30 November 1976
Page: 3011

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Health, upon notice:

(1)   How was the horse disease, equine babesiosis, introduced into Australia.

(2)   What action has been taken to prevent any further entry of this disease.

Mr Hunt - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The causative organism Babesia equi was not known to have been present in Australia prior to confirmation on 8 October 1976 that a single horse had contracted the disease. It is therefore most likely that an infected imported horse introduced the organism to Australia. There is, however, no means of establishing the precise mode of entry or the approximate date of introduction.

(2)   Horses may only be imported into Australia from the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand. Horses imported into Australia from the United Kingdom and Ireland now undergo pre-export testing with negative result for piroplasmosis (including B. equi), equine infectious anaemia and vesicular stomatitis. They are also vaccinated against equine influenza. Horses from New Zealand may be imported subject to a general health certificate and a prior period of residency in Australasia of 6 months.

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