Airport high alerts after FMD outbreaks in Indonesia

Biosecurity and surveillance measure have been stepped up at Australian airports following outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) across Indonesia.

The measures include giving airport biosecurity officers extra powers to direct travellers from Bali and other Indonesian ports to use sanitising foot baths or clean their shoes.

Testing and surveillance of meat products has also been boosted after viral fragments of foot and mouth disease (FMD) were detected in Melbourne and Adelaide last week.

FMD is a viral disease affecting cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, deer, camels, and water buffalo and would devastate Australia’s $80 billion livestock industry if detected here.

Federal Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Murray Watt flew to Indonesia earlier this month to assess the situation and offer technical and other support.

The federal government has committed $14 million to manage the increased threat of FMD and LSD, in addition to $1.5 million to supply vaccines in Indonesia and $500,000 to support industry-led assistance through Meat and Livestock Australia.

To prevent an FMD incursion in Australia, the government also funding 18 new biosecurity offices in airports and mail centres.

Other measures include:

  • biosecurity detector dogs deployed in Darwin and Cairns airports;
  • additional signage and the distribution of flyers at major airports, informing travellers of FMD risk and precautions; and
  • expanded social media campaigns and messaging informing travellers of their biosecurity responsibilities

Responding to growing concerns about the FMD threat, including from local governments in agricultural areas, federal and state government departments and agencies say they are working closely with the livestock industry to stay abreast of events in Indonesia, and to highlight the need for vigilance and prevention activities.