Notifiable diseases

Early recognition of a serious or exotic animal disease is one of the most important factors influencing the chance of controlling the disease and reducing its economic and social impact on the whole community.

All Australian governments recognise this by defining some animal diseases as ‘notifiable diseases’. These are animal diseases that when suspected by owners, veterinarians or laboratories must be reported to animal health authorities within a defined time frame.

Notifiable diseases are defined under state legislation. The Act lists the diseases, obligations and reporting responsibilities of livestock owners, veterinarians and veterinary laboratories.

The state list of notifiable diseases includes a national list agreed by Animal Health Committee, but can also include other specific diseases important to the state for surveillance or disease control purposes. The national list contains diseases based on the list of Diseases Notifiable to the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). The list contains both endemic diseases, diseases which we know or suspect already exist in Australia, exotic diseases (eg Foot and Mouth disease) and diseases that are known to be foreign to Australia.

There is a legal requirement for anyone who suspects or diagnoses a disease on the list, to immediately notify their relevant state or territory animal health authority.

If you suspect an exotic disease call the Disease Watch Hotline – 1800 675 888 (24 hours a day, every day of the year)

For further information contact the Animal Health Secretariat at the Department of Agriculture or your state department of agriculture.