CANBERRA, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Australian cattle are being tested for the lumpy skin disease (LSD) after Indonesia paused imports from four facilities over outbreak fears.
Minister for Agriculture Murray Watt on Monday said Australia remains free of the infectious virus.
Indonesia has paused cattle imports from four Australian facilities after individuals tested positive for LSD, characterized by nodules on the skin and could be devastating for farmers.
Watt said that immediately after being notified of the issue on Friday afternoon, the government enacted an emergency response, which included rapid diagnostic testing of cattle across northern Australia.
"Australian officials are working with Indonesian authorities to reassure them that all animals exported from Australia comply with all Indonesian requirements, including being free of LSD," he said in a statement on Monday.
"Indonesia has paused exports from four Australian facilities pending further testing of animals, but live cattle exports to Indonesia are continuing, and 28 registered establishments are available for use by exporters wishing to trade."
The spread of LSD could devastate the industry, heavily restricting cattle exports and causing reduced milk production, poor growth and infertility.
Australia's Chief Veterinary Officer Mark Schipp said LSD is a highly infectious viral disease of cattle and buffalo transmitted by biting insects. It is not a disease that poses a risk to humans.
"Australia has robust biosecurity systems in place for the ongoing monitoring of Australia's animal disease status including for LSD," he said. ■