Chief veterinary officers visit Indonesia amid disease outbreaks

By Anna Macdonald

May 31, 2022

Mark Schipp
Chief veterinary officer Mark Schipp. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Australian chief veterinary officer Dr Mark Schipp and deputy chief veterinary officer Dr Beth Cookson are visiting Indonesia to discuss animal health and biosecurity cooperation. 

The visit comes while there has been a recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Indonesia, previously not seen in the nation since 1986, confirmed by WHO in 1990. Australia remains free from FMD.

FMD is a contagious viral disease found in cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. Symptoms include blisters on the mouth and drooling or limping animals. 

“Australia is already working closely with Indonesia to combat animal diseases across our region, and stands ready to provide additional support to help combat and contain the FMD outbreak in Java and Sumatra,” Schipp said.

Another point of discussion with senior Indonesian government officials is the outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) on the island of Sumatra. 

Schipp added the Australian officials will be meeting with representatives from Indonesia’s Ministry of Agriculture and the head of the Indonesian office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The government said the recent disease outbreaks serve to highlight the importance of international cooperation in biosecurity matters to protect Australia’s interests. 

Cookson emphasised the importance of knowledge sharing to understand potential threats to Australia’s ecosystem.

“As part of this visit, we’ll be gathering information on the ground with our embassy staff, including talking to the local Meat and Livestock Australia Office.

“And we’ll have an opportunity to discuss how we can build on existing partnerships to increase our support,” Cookson said. 

Cookson visited Indonesia in April as well, meeting with officials then. 

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) earlier this month expressed its concerns about the outbreak, saying the risk to Australia was low and it will offer assistance to Indonesia. 

According to modelling by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences in 2013, an outbreak of FMD in Australia is estimated to cost around $50 billion over 10 years.


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