A THREE-week brucellosis diagnostic training program for agricultural staff started at the Koronivia Veterinary Laboratory.
A government statement said lab staff were being trained by Dr John Allen, Dr Debbie Eagles and Trevor Taylor from the Australian Animal Health Laboratory.
Opening the training courseat Nausori on Tuesday, Primary Industries Minister Joketani Cokanasiga said it was a general training course for field and lab staff in the epidemiology and disease transmission of brucellosis in cattle.
“During this training, the staff will be able to establish a Brucella Complement Fixation Test (CFT) and conduct milk ring test for brucella and prepare an appropriate transport media for the collection of animal specimens for subsequent culture of the brucella organisms,” Mr Cokanasiga said.
He said it would involve samples taken from suspect cattle on selected dairy properties and also cover the reproductive and pregnancy assessment aspects.
“This training is very vital at this time as there was a re-emergence of brucellosis in cattle around the Central Division in early 2009 — it is a contagious disease of livestock, which can have a significant economic impact,” said Mr Cokanasiga.
Brucellosis is typically spread when an infected animal aborts or gives birth.
High levels of bacteria are found in birth fluids, afterbirths and discharges associated with an infected animal. These bacteria can survive outside the animal in the environment for several months, particularly in cool moist conditions.
They remain infectious to other animals which become infected by ingesting the bacteria while grazing.
The bacteria also infects the udder and can contaminate milk.