Wet sparks disease risk
A LUSH season for pasture growth has a significant health-related downside for farmers and their cattle, the Australian Veterinary Association warned yesterday.
The association's cattle vet division has warned graziers, farm workers and their families to take preventative measures to protect their cattle and themselves.
They say some potentially deadly diseases thrive in moist farm conditions, as occur after extensive summer and autumn rain.
Leptospirosis is an example, the association warned yesterday.
Described as "a very widespread and important disease in terms of animal health and agriculture," it is generally controlled in animals by preventative vaccination early in life.
Vet, farmer and AVA past president, Rob Bonanno, describes himself as a "leptospirosis survivor" and says he is keen to warn other farmers.
He warns the disease can be spread by rodents and humans can catch it by drinking contaminated water or from infected animals.
Farming and swimming in contaminated water are regarded as among the most common high-risk activities for human infection, according to government experts.
Cattle also can catch the disease from contaminated water.
Accidental ingestion of river or swimming hole water can be risky but the risk with salt water is generally regarded as nil.
Farm animals specialist Justin Schooth, of Gympie Veterinary Services, joined in warning farmers to take precautions against the disease, which can be life-threatening.
Symptoms in humans include a sudden fever, lasting only a few days in mild cases and following a flu-like pattern of feeling ill.
Severe cases can cause organ failure and death.
- Leptospirosis thrives in moist farm conditions
- It can be contracted from infected animals or contaminated drinking water
- Accidental ingestion can occur while fresh water swimming
- Risk in salt water is virtually nil
- Disease can be fatal in humans