23 Sep 2013

Rate of new theileria farm infection slows

6:38 am on 23 September 2013

While 700 dairy and beef cattle have been killed by a new strain of theileria - and countless more made ill, the Ministry for Primary Industries says the rate of new farm infections is now slowing.

MPI principal advisor Andre van Halderen said that while more than 100 farms are known to have been hit by the parasite in the last few weeks, the rate of new farms effected has slowed.

Mr van Halderen said it's been confirmed on 124 New Zealand farms and some have been badly effected with the mortality rate on those badly effected farms at about 2%.

It's estimated that a total of 700 cattle have died in this theileria outbreak.

But Mr van Halderen said those in the field are saying that in the past 10 days or so the number of cases appear to be dropping, but that will be closely monitored.

He said MPI modelling suggests that if there's a confirmed case on a farm, then farms within a five kilometre radius will also be affected.

Mr van Halderen said the majority of stock affected by theileria do not exhibit obvious signs of being infected.