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AHA-industry LSD discussion session – debrief

30 Mar

On Tuesday the 22 March, AHA brought together relevant industries to discuss Lumpy Skin Disease. Below is a short brief provided by Head of Program – AUSVETPLAN, Dr Peter Dagg.

Aims of the meeting

  • Awareness for relevant industries on the review process for the AUSVETPLAN Response strategy: Lumpy skin disease, and the next steps.
  • A comparison of the currently published version of the AUSVETPLAN Response strategy: Lumpy skin disease and the revised draft version.
  • Seek initial comments from relevant industries on the revised draft AUSVETPLAN Response strategy: Lumpy skin disease – specifically Section 4 (Policy and rationale) and Section 6 (Movement controls).
  • Seek initial comments from relevant industries on the proposal to develop vaccine manufacturing capability in Australia to proactively enhance preparedness for priority emergency animal diseases such as LSD.
  • Awareness that further discussions will be held with industry members in the near future on the potential for importation of LSD virus into ACDP to improve LSD outbreak preparedness.

Discussion points

  • It is vital to note that AUSVETPLAN is NOT an operational document. AUSVETPLAN provides the starting point for an emergency animal disease response to ensure that a fast, efficient and effective response can be implemented consistently across Australia with minimal delay. It does not, and can not cover every possible scenario or eventuality for emergency animal disease outbreaks. Jurisdictions are responsible for developing the specific emergency animal disease response plan based on the situation at the time.
  • Generally, industry participants noted that the revised draft AUSVETPLAN Response strategy: Lumpy skin disease was a good starting point, but it does highlight a number of preparedness gaps that need to be progressed separately to the review of the AUSVETPLAN manual.
  • Industry participants will continue to review the revised draft AUSVETPLAN Response strategy: Lumpy skin disease, with the view to providing comments to AHA by 1 April 2022. At this point, it does not seem likely that industry participants will endorse the manual, but comments will be provided to assist AHA in finalising it as soon as possible thereafter.
  • Questions raised regarding the revised draft AUSVETPLAN Response strategy: Lumpy skin disease (which will be provided in writing, and followed up by AHA in consultation with the writing group) include:
    • Is the normal pasteurisation process adequate for inactivating virus/treating dairy products?
    • Is there additional guidance on the risk assessment to identify dangerous contact premises (DCPs)? (Refer to the AUSVETPLAN Guidance document: Declared areas for further information, and jurisdictions will develop risk assessment criteria at the time of an outbreak based on the epidemiological information available).
    • Consider including composting as a disposal option (feedlots use composting rather than burial or burning on-site).
    • Need to ensure vector management will utilise insecticides already registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
    • Traceback period in the strategy is 2 incubation periods (i.e. 56 days), but this will be very difficult to address in the extensive Northern Australia cattle properties because the cattle may not have been mustered for many months.
  • Disease movement throughout other continents indicates that LSD will be picked up in Australia (i.e., a case of ‘when’ not ‘if’). Literature notes that virus can affect Bos taurus and Bos indicus cattle differently, is this the case and will vaccination responses utilised overseas be successful in Australia?
    • Noted differing virus sensitivities in different cattle, however, this is point of interest rather than a factor that changes the epidemiology of the disease.
    • Vaccination response learnings from Southern Europe not directly applicable to the Northern Australian context.
  • Worth noting that lesions (i.e., visible nodules) not a universal feature on all infected animals meaning there will be cases that are affected not showing visible signs

Outside the scope of AUSVETPLAN

  • Industry is keen to understand more about and be involved in further discussions on the national LSD strategic plan, including gap analysis, being progressed by DAWE.
  • Industry is keen to be involved in discussions regarding the proposal to import live capripoxvirus into Australia by ACDP for research purposes.
  • Industry is keen to be involved in discussions regarding the proposal to establish vaccine manufacturing facilities in Australia.
  • If vaccine is used in an outbreak, can lay vaccinators be used?
  • AHA to assist the AVA in approaches to upskill private veterinarians to assist in emergency animal disease responses.
  • What level of discussion and coordination is occurring at the jurisdictional level with respect to logistical challenges associated with vaccination, identification of vaccinated animals, movement controls and utilising existing industry mechanisms e.g. NLIS, LPA?
    • To ensure consistency in operationalising any agreed national policy, there would be an expectation that response principles in AUSVETPLAN would be followed by all jurisdictions at the start of a response, noting the AUSVETPLAN allows for flexibility as a response unfolds.
  • Challenge in northern Australia will be those cattle missed during muster, therefore a practical and easy method of identifying animals is required as are response staff who understand the requirements for different jurisdictions (if applicable).

Any questions on the above please email Peter directly – pdagg@animalhealthaustralia.com.au