FLOCK-SPECIFIC footrot vaccines will be tested on Merino sheep in Western Australia next year.
WA research into the application of a new virulent footrot vaccination could lead to the wider use flock-specific vaccines and a major step forward in combating the disease.
IFS Committee chair Jeff Murray said the vaccine research was an important part of the industry funding program.
“This research commenced with a survey of eight flocks infected with virulent footrot in the higher rainfall parts of the Great Southern,” Mr Murray said.
“It has been widely supported by all participants in the survey and shows a strong commitment to the biosecurity of the WA sheep and goat industry.”
Department of Agriculture and Food veterinary officer Danny Roberts said sheep from the eight flocks were inspected and samples sent to the department’s Animal Health Laboratories to isolate the bacterium that causes footrot.
The DNA was extracted from the footrot bacterial isolates and was then tested for serogroups.
Dr Roberts said the survey and testing had identified six known serogroups in WA from which a flock-specific footrot vaccine could be manufactured.
A Sydney-based firm will now manufacture vaccine based on the serogroups that are present in two selected flocks.
Mr Murray said the next stage of research would see how effective the flock-specific footrot vaccination of some Merino sheep from these two flocks next spring and summer.
“This research will help build a better understanding of the value of vaccination under WA conditions and aims to enhance producers’ efforts to control the spread of virulent footrot,” he said.