About 250 people are in Dargaville's Northern Wairoa Hall at a Mycoplasma bovis information meeting organised by the Ministry for Primary Industries after the first confirmed case of M.bovis was found in Northland last week.

MPI is not saying where the infected farm is, but the Northern Advocate understands it is in
the Kaipara, hence the Ministry holding the meeting in Dargaville.

The meeting opened with Dr Kelly Bourke MPI epidemiologist incursion investigator addressing the crowd.

MPI has assured Northlanders that livestock not in close proximity to a farm in the region infected with M.bovis are not at risk of the disease.

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An unnamed property in Northland with about 50 beef cattle tested positive for the bacterial cattle disease last week - the first time M. bovis has been found in the region. The only clue MPI gave was that the infected property was a dry stock beef farm.

Today's meeting is to help the community better understand the disease, response activities, and to ask questions of Biodiversity New Zealand.

"M. bovis is not a disease that spreads on wind or water, it is a very slow moving disease that is spread through prolonged and repeated cow-to-cow contact or through drinking infected milk," an MPI spokeswoman said.

She said MPI's quarantine measures were very effective in containing the disease and mitigating its spread.

The infected property in Northland is in quarantine lockdown to reduce the likelihood of the disease spreading. All infected cattle on the farm will ultimately be culled, in agreement with the farmer.

MPI is informing all immediate neighbours so they can take the necessary precautions to stop their cattle coming into contact with animals who may be carrying the infection.

"As naming the property has no implication to the wider public, other than immediate neighbours, MPI will not be identifying any properties who are infected with M. bovis until the property owner has decided to go public. This balances the privacy concerns of individuals with the need for farmers to protect their own farms," the spokeswoman said.