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Guarding against foot and mouth disease



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AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

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39-f-Ϋ PRESS STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER FOR HEALTH, DR D.N. EVERINGHAM /9us, GUARDING AGAINST FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE .

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Australian quarantine authorities are tightening their already

established reporting system around the Northern Australian coastline as a

first-line defence against foot and mouth disease.

The Minister for Health, Dr D.N. Everingham, said today that this was

one of a number of activities currently being pursued to ensure Australia's

continued freedom from.the disease.

Dr Everingham said that one of the dangers confronting Australian

animal quarantine authorities was the unscheduled and sometimes illegal arrival

of boats in Northern Australia. Such boats could bring food, food waste and

other ship's refuse, and even animals, which could carry the virus of foot and

mouth disease to Australia.

He said the Australian Department of Health had requested lighthouse

keepers and volunteer coast watchers to report by radio and telephone

immediately anything unusual was noted.

The Department of Health had appointed a number of lighthouse keepers

and other people in responsible positions in northern coastal areas as

quarantine officers. These officers had the authority to order into quarantine

any persons, animals, stock or ylant supplies considered a risk in

communicating diseases such as foot and mouth disease.

Dr Everingham said other intensive measures to maintain Australia's

already close defences against foot and mouth disease were being continued in

all areas.

Royal Australian Navy patrol boats based strategically along the

coastline for defence purposes, were also on the alert for any illegal activity

in relation to quarantine, enabling early investigation of possible quarantine

hazards.

A close watch was being kept to ensure that no illegal flights of

private or charter aircraft entered Northern Australia from adjacent countries

or islands.

Dr Everingham said that in addition to unusual activities, all

scheduled commercial flights were the subject of intensive measures to ensure

that all food waste from overseas aircraft was removed and destroyed.

Wherever necessary, precautions were being taken with soiled clothing

and footwear of people coming to Australia from foot and mouth areas-

The Minister said that as part of the foot and.unouth disease precautions o T 1 i Vi Λ Z>W 4 V\ Λ Ι » « " V 4 *** * 1 Ί A ·Î‘ΑΑ^ % 4 AA A J 4· Λ 4 A a 1 A — * » - «V “ i t — ~A < ! *» 4.1» · — - — 4. O f — — — —

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they had been on a farm, in contact with farm animals or at an abattoir or meat

packing place. .

' In certain instances, when they were known to have come from a current

outbreak area they were subject to full precautions, regardless of the 90 day

declaration. . . . ’ -

This situation was exceptional but had occurred during the 1968 foot

and mouth disease outbreak in the United Kingdom and in the recent outbreak in-

Bali, in which it was considered that all visitors could have inadvertently come

into contact with the virus. Although the outbreak on Bali had been reported ■

to be under control, present precautions would be maintained until the disease '

had been completely eradicated. . . .

"Precautions taken at our international air terminals have put a

considerable strain on Australian quarantine defence, but nevertheless, no ' ’

precaution will be omitted which is necessary to protect this country against

foot and mouth disease", Dr Everingham said. Dr Everingham added that such

precautions would continue until such time as there was a favourable change in

the overseas foot and mouth disease situation. . .

. The Minister said that other countries which were free from foot and

mouth disease included Dew Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, North

America and other countries in the Pacific, including Papua-New Guinea. No

disinfection precautions are required for travellers from these countries.

Canberra, February 14» 1974