A WEEK in solitary, two pairs of pants and two pairs of shoes was a cheap price to pay for an invaluable trip to Nepal according to Leongatha-based District Veterinarian, Dr Will Hume.
Late last year Dr Hume was among a group of international vets who travelled to Kathmandu for an intensive six-day course on the early detection and containment of foot-and-mouth disease.
Foot-and-mouth disease is considered to be one of the biggest threats to agriculture in Australia, with an outbreak likely to cost an estimated $50 billion.
“We had vets and animal health staff from all over the world including France and Britain who really are on the front line for foot and mouth,” Dr Hume said.
The course runs almost every year to train vets from around the world on how to recognise and deal with this costly condition.
“This course was of great value because we now know, at first hand, what it is like dealing with such a contagious virus,” Dr Hume said.
“The biosecurity measures we used were like nothing I have experienced before.
“I left two pairs of pants and two pairs of shoes behind, to make triple sure there was no risk of bringing anything unwanted home with me and, when I got back, I was confined to the office for a week as an added safety measure.”
The course is run by the Food and Agriculture Organisation arm of the United Nations, in conjunction with the European Union Committee on the eradication of foot-and-mouth disease.
The disease is endemic and widespread in Nepal and eradication is not viable due to the mountainous geography and long borders with China and India.
“I feel incredibly lucky to have been given the chance to attend this course, and it has opened my eyes to the potential this disease has to impact agriculture in Australia.
“I need to thank my partner and mum for looking after our three little kids while I was away.”
Training in real-world situations helps our local animal health staff to protect Victoria’s livestock industry. Everybody can contribute to biosecurity.
For more go to www.farmbiosecurity.com.au/ which is a great place for farmers to prepare and protect their own operations against the threat of an emergency animal disease incursion.