Emergency Animal Diseases


Emergency animal diseases (EADs) refer to diseases that are exotic to Australia, to new and emerging diseases that are of national significance, and it can also include serious outbreaks of diseases that may already be endemic in the country.

The AVA has developed this resource to house information about significant emergency animal diseases, including; Lumpy skin disease, Foot-and-mouth disease, Japanese encephalitis, High pathogenicity avian influenza, African swine fever and Ehrlichia. These pages will be updated as required, and we will also continue to keep AVA members informed of our advocacy in this space.

Emergency animal diseases can cause serious consequences to industries, communities and people. Prevention of entry, early detection and rapid response management are recognised as the most cost effective methods of managing EADs.

For example, the equine influenza outbreak in New South Wales and Queensland during 2007-2008 cost Australian governments at least $350 million in direct costs. It also cost an additional $1.5 billion in indirect costs to the horse industry and the nation.

Should Australia experience a large outbreak of a disease such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)  in several states, the cost to the nation has been estimated at more than $80 billion over 10 years. In addition to the response costs borne by governments and industry, an outbreak would take a massive toll on agricultural communities and businesses in rural and regional Australia.

Disease threats to animals are serious and potentially expensive to the Australian economy and to people’s livelihoods. Veterinarians have an important role to play in monitoring against emergency animal diseases and also being involved in any response to an EAD outbreak.

Australia has a detailed plan for responding to emergency animal disease outbreaks called AUSVETPLAN. This plan has been used in recent years to respond to equine influenza and Hendra virus outbreaks.

Online training about EADs  for veterinary teams : 

Resources for veterinarians performing disease investigations

Emergency animal diseases field guide for Australian veterinarians

Emergency animal diseases glovebox guide for veterinarians 

The AVA and ACV has partnered with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to produce a differential diagnosis for Lumpy Skin Disease chart. A similar chart for foot-and-mouth disease is in the works. 



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The AVA is contributing to the Animal Health Committee taskforce which is reviewing the National framework for the engagement of private veterinarians during an emergency animal disease response. We will continue to advocate for education fee relief and engage with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) to enhance veterinarian attraction and retention strategies. 
The Australian Veterinary Association is pleased to see the release of the Animal Health Australia annual report, which outlines many projects which the AVA has contributed to.
A national livestock standstill (NLSS) is the currently agreed national policy following the diagnosis or strong suspicion of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). During 2021 and 2022, an analysis of the economic and epidemiological factors involved in an NLSS was commissioned, and the report is now available.
A report undertaken by Birdlife Australia investigates the potential role of waterbirds in the 2022 Japanese encephalitis outbreak and puts forward recommended activities to contribute to knowledge of waterbird movements, population structures and dynamics.
To better understand the risk of lumpy skin disease (LSD), a disease exotic to Australia, the government has commissioned epidemiological modelling to examine pathways for potential incursions.

Lumpy Skin Disease

Lumpy skin disease is a devastating viral disease of cattle and water buffalo.

Foot and Mouth Disease

A highly contagious disease which affects those animals with a cloven hoof.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a virus spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes.


Canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME) is a disease caused by a tick-borne bacteria called Ehrlichia canis.

African Swine Fever

ASF is a contagious viral haemorrhagic disease of domestic and wild pigs.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza

HPAI viruses are associated with severe disease and high mortality in poultry.

Emergency animal diseases

A field guide for Australian veterinarians from the Australian Government.

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We monitor and respond to issues that may impact the profession, animals, and the community.

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