14 Mar 2008

Australia to help with New Caledonia tick fever outbreak

4:31 pm on 14 March 2008

A team of Australian experts is due to fly to New Caledonia this weekend to assist local authorities in containing a tick fever outbreak among its cattle.

The tick fever that was brought in from Australia last November in a slip-up of quarantine procedures.

The government has imposed emergency regulations to set up exclusion zones for 17 cattle farms that have been in contact with the imported bulls.

Our correspondent, Patrick Decloitre, says the Australian and New Caledonian governments want to resolve the issue through a cooperative approach.

"There's a mission of experts from Australia that's going to be in New Caledonia next week, four scientists, including the veterinarian chief and head of the Australian health services."

Patrick Decloitre says up to 6,000 cattle might need to be slaughtered and there are fears that the illness could spread over the whole territory.

He says it is unclear at this stage how severe the economic impact will be.