“If we need to do more, we will consider that.
“Anyone who declares having been in a risk zone is checked. They are spoken to and if there are any particular problems, they are then examined, and their luggage is examined.
If a positive case of foot-and-mouth disease is detected on an Australian farm, it could shut down the $27 billion livestock export trade for months or even years. The federal government has estimated the total cost of a major epidemic at $80 billion.
The federal government is stepping up biosecurity checks and warning all passengers returning from Bali of the risk of an epidemic. Watt said state governments and individual travelers must also “take it seriously and fulfill their end of the bargain.”
“If it were to get here, it would wipe out our export industry for a while and be another blow to consumers at the supermarket checkout.”
Foot-and-mouth disease infects domesticated livestock species such as pigs, cattle and sheep, as well as wild species including camels, pigs, goats and deer. It causes fever, lameness and sores on the tongue, feet, muzzle and teats.
The virus is highly contagious, spreads quickly between farm animals and can survive on objects such as vehicle tires, livestock trucks and equipment.
The 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak in the UK resulted in the destruction of over 6 million pigs, cows and sheep at an estimated cost of 8 billion pounds ($14 billion).