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How are we integrating animal health surveillance into AUSPestCheck®?

5 Dec

Animal Health Australia (AHA) is integrating the national animal health surveillance programs that we manage on behalf of our Members into AUSPestCheck®, through collaboration with Plant Health Australia (PHA) and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). AUSPestCheck® is a centralised system for plant and animal disease surveillance. The animal health surveillance and monitoring programs administered by AHA cover both exotic and significant endemic animal diseases, most of which are nationally notifiable. These surveillance and monitoring programs support animal welfare, trade and market access, and the maintenance of Australia’s animal health status with the World Organisation for Animal Health.

The current Central Animal Health Database requires modernisation to continue to remain fit for purpose into the future. Transition into a contemporary system such as AUSPestCheck® is essential for maintaining trade and market access, as well as supporting the early detection of notifiable diseases, exotic insect vectors, and strains of important viruses.

For example, the National Arbovirus Monitoring Program (NAMP) monitors arboviruses (viruses spread by insects), such as Bluetongue virus in livestock.  During the transition into the new AUSPestCheck® system, program information has been updated to improve recording of the multiple newer diagnostic test types used to identify the Culicoides vector, which is a biting midge capable of spreading the virus. Such innovations support data capture and allow for improved data analysis and reporting. NAMP publications available for producers and the general public include the NAMP Annual Report and the Bluetongue Virus Zone Map.

Reports from across the animal health surveillance and monitoring programs are summarised in the Animal Health Surveillance Quarterly Report and the Animal Health in Australia Annual Report.

AHA and PHA will continue to work collaboratively with relevant governments to transition each surveillance program into the new system. This will include providing ongoing training for data entry processes for AUSPestCheck® before it ‘goes live’ in 2024.

For more information on the planned transition of animal heath surveillance programs managed by AHA into AUSPestCheck® contact:

Bronwyn Hendry

Head of Animal Health Surveillance and Monitoring Programs