Emergency animal diseases
Animal health and welfare information for Victorian producers.
Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline
Report any unusual signs or suspected cases of emergency animal disease immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888. Early reporting increases the chance of effective control and eradication.
What is an emergency animal disease?
Emergency animal diseases (EADs) have the potential to cause devastating impacts to the livestock industries of Victoria with serious economic and social implications along with affecting animal, human and environmental health. EADs can affect production animals such as cattle, sheep, horses and poultry, companion pets such as dogs and cats and wildlife species such as bats.
An outbreak of an EAD in Victoria could result in animal deaths, production losses and trade restrictions. Victoria is fortunate to be free of most of the serious diseases that affect animals in other parts of the world.
Under the Australian EAD Response Agreement (EADRA), listed EADs must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- known disease that does not occur in Australia, and for which it is considered to be in the national interest for the country to be free (exotic disease)
- a variation of an established (endemic) disease which, if it became widespread here, would have a national impact
- a serious infectious disease of unknown or uncertain cause, which may be an entirely new disease
- a known established disease, but is occurring in such a severe outbreak form, that an emergency response is required to ensure that there is neither a large-scale epidemic of national significance or serious loss of market access
Ongoing surveillance and reporting of sick animals is important to ensure the early detection of animal diseases that might impact on animal health/welfare, trade, regional or national productivity, public health and/or biodiversity.
Early detection and reporting of all suspect EADs is essential in preventing the establishment and spread of disease. All suspected EADs must be reported immediately by calling the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.
As the control agency for biosecurity emergencies, Agriculture Victoria manages emergency animal disease outbreaks within Victoria and works with national partners from industry and government through the Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA).
What’s the difference between an emergency animal disease and notifiable disease?
All EADs are notifiable but not all notifiable diseases are classified as EADs.
Some diseases do not meet the national criteria as described in EADRA (see above) however they are important to report because the disease:
- is a public health risk
- appears similar to other more serious exotic diseases, and/or
- requires ongoing monitoring in Victoria.
Notifiable diseases are defined under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994, and the obligations of livestock owners, vets, laboratories and others are outlined in the Act and its associated regulations and orders.
EADs must be reported immediately upon suspicion however reporting time frames ranging from 12hours to 7days apply to other notifiable diseases.
Go to notifiable diseases to see the list of notifiable diseases in Victoria and the reporting requirements and timeframes.
Symptoms that could indicate an emergency animal disease
- High rate of death or sickness in animals
- Sudden death
- Drop in production of milk yield or egg production
- Rapid spread of disease through a flock or herd
- Blisters, erosions or ulcers in their mouth, on or around the muzzle, feet, udder or teats
- Excessive nasal discharge or salivation
- Unusual nervous signs such as tremors, uncharacteristic aggression or paralysis.
- Any unusual disease symptoms
- Disease affects multiple species
Information to include in report
- name and contact details for the property, owner or farm manager
- location of animals (address point, GPS, etc.)
- clinical signs – what symptoms do the animals have?
- number of animals affected and the total number of animals on the property
- history of the animals, for example, recent travel, vaccinations, treatments
Emergency animal diseases
EADs include both exotic diseases and some non-exotic diseases which have detrimental consequences.
- African horse sickness
- African swine fever
- Aujeszky’s disease
- Avian influenza
- Bluetongue disease
- Bovine spongiform encephalopathy
- Classical swine fever
- Epizootic haemorrhagic disease
- Equine influenza
- Foot-and-mouth disease
- Hendra virus infection
- Influenza A in pigs
- Japanese encephalitis
- Lumpy skin disease
- Newcastle disease
- Nipah virus infection
- Peste des petits ruminants
- Porcine epidemic diarrhoea
- Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome
- Rabies lyssavirus and infection with other lyssaviruses
- Rift Valley fever
- Sheep pox and goat pox
- Swine vesicular disease
- Transmissible gastroenteritis
- Vesicular stomatitis
Resources for private veterinarians
- Anthrax – information on anthrax and any current incidents (if applicable)
- African swine fever – A guide for veterinarians (PDF - 1.2 MB)
- African swine fever – A guide for veterinarians (WORD - 2.0 MB)
- Hendra virus – Investigation procedures for veterinarians
- AUSVETPLAN manuals
- Biosecurity advice notes (Biosecurity advisory information released by the Agriculture Victoria)
- Emergency animal disease bulletins (Publications produced by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment)
- At the Epicentre: Essentials for epidemiologists in outbreaks publication
Find out more about emergency animal diseases: