AGRICULTURE minister David Littleproud said the government invested around $350,000 to support the development of a rapid molecular test for
bluetongue virus (BTV).

“This new test provides results in hours, instead of weeks or months, and can test for more than one strain at a time,” Mr Littleproud said.

The new tested is expected to bring about faster results and improved monitoring for the virus.

“This is a huge benefit to industry and farmers and vital for international market access,” Mr Littleproud said.

“It also improves our monitoring of BTV in Australia, so we can provide area of freedom assurance to trading partners and support the future of our livestock trade.”

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BTV is an insect borne virus than can infect ruminants, including sheep and cattle. Infection of cattle with BTV has never caused clinical disease in Australia, but sheep are susceptible to BTV and can develop severe illness.

Although clinical disease does not occur in Australian livestock, BTV can have a significant impact on trade in live animals, semen and embryos.

The delineation of Australia’s area of freedom from BTV benefits the industry through the maintenance and opening of livestock export market opportunities.

The test will be implemented through the National Arbovirus Monitoring Program.

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