Disease surveillance and control
National Arbovirus Monitoring Program
This program monitors three important insect-borne livestock viruses:
- bluetongue virus
- Akabane virus
- bovine ephemeral fever (BEF) or three-day sickness.
Viruses transmitted by insects are called arboviruses. They are spread by culicoides midges across the north of the Northern Territory (NT).
Southern NT remains arbovirus-free. The boundary between the two areas - across the southern Katherine and Tennant Creek/Alice Springs regions - is monitored.
Several strains of bluetongue virus have been identified in the NT but have not produced disease in cattle.
Akabane and BEF are both widespread in northern NT and can cause seasonal illness and production losses in cattle.
A network of sentinel cattle herds is maintained at research stations throughout the NT.
Blood samples are collected from cattle and insect vectors are trapped at monthly intervals.
Test results are used to update the National Arbovirus Monitoring Program (NAMP) map and reflect the seasonal changes in arbovirus distribution.
How information is used
NAMP information is used for all of the following purposes:
- to support trade - it is used during export protocol negotiations and to assist exporters in meeting export certification requirements
- to provide an early warning to producers - surveillance detects cases in areas not previously affected allowing early warning for producers
- to manage risk - exporters can identify virus-free areas to source cattle from for export to virus-sensitive markets.
To read more about the program, go to the Animal Health Australia website.
You can also get the following information sheets about arboviruses and monitoring in the NT:
Last updated: 28 September 2020
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