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Authorities ban milk sales in Tailevu Northern Mariana Islands

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 1, 2009) – A bacterial disease which has been dormant here for more than 10 years has forced the destruction of more than 200 cows in Tailevu North.

And authorities have banned all milk supply from the Wainivesi/Waimaro area from June 16 as part of efforts to prevent any possibility of transmission to humans.

This is after the bacterial disease known as brucellosis re-emerged in cows in the Wainivesi/Waimaro region, forcing authorities to place a quarantine over the area.

According to the Ministry of Primary Industries, the quarantine has been in place since June 16, with the monitoring of all movement in the area and calls for the disinfection of all vehicles leaving Wainivesi Road. The ministry said tests were conducted on 2464 cows on 10 farms in Wainivesi, with 244 testing positive for the brucella abortus.

"We have started slaughtering infected cows," said MPI veterinarian Dr Robin Achari. "We're advising people not to panic and for farmers to report to us if they have a sick cow."

The first sign a cow is suffering from brucellosis would be if it has aborted.

Dr Achari said great care should be taken in such circumstances.

"We advise those farm workers not to touch the calves or clean the cows because that is one way the bacteria can infect humans," Dr Achari said.

"People should also refrain from drinking raw milk until we give the clearance."

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