Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs what research has been done by his Department on the effects of Mycoplasma Bovis.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: Mycoplasma bovis is a world-wide disease of cattle, which was first recognised as a pathogen in 1961 in the United States of America, and has been present in the United Kingdom since the mid-1970’s. As such, my Department does not currently undertake any research on its effects, and it is not notifiable in Northern Ireland.
I note however that as part of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute’s (AFBI) surveillance, M. bovis was the pathogen most commonly identified in cattle diagnosed with respiratory disease (at 30.9%, 73 cases) in 2018. AFBI identified a further 60 cases in 2019, and 45 cases in laboratory submissions to date in 2020.
Mycoplasma bovis has now spread worldwide, including to countries that for a long time were considered free of the pathogen, for example New Zealand, in 2017.