New Zealand’s biosecurity needs to be protected

Large cargo ship docked at Lyttelton PortNew Zealand is free of many exotic diseases and their vectors. Effective quarantine and biosecurity procedures prevent the entry of these diseases or their carriers.

Ports at Timaru and Lyttelton, and Christchurch International Airport are entry points for these diseases.

Community and Public Health is involved in activities at these locations, including:

  • Exotic mosquito monitoring at ports and Christchurch Airport.
  • Responding to notifications of exotic mosquito interceptions and incursions.
  • Responding to ill passengers on international flights or visiting cruise ships.
  • Inspecting ships for sanitary conditions and disease vectors such as mosquitoes and rats.

Staff are ready to respond to any concerns that arise. Mosquito borne diseases and highly infectious diseases are particular worries.

Responding to infectious diseases and other international events

The International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005 now take an ‘all hazards’ approach by including all events of a chemical, biological or radiological nature and are no longer just about responding to quarantinable diseases.

Christchurch International Airport Limited and Lyttelton Port of Christchurch are designated as Points of Entry under the IHR. This means they need to have the required core capacities at all times and during the response to a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Community and Public Health makes sure that ports and airports are ready to deal with public health events of international concern by:

  • Maintaining emergency response plans;
  • Assessing unwell international travellers and crew;
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders.

Exotic mosquitoes pose a life-threatening public health threat

HPO Bruce Waddleton checking a mosquito trap.Community and Public Health staff conduct mosquito surveillance activities to prevent exotic mosquitoes spreading serious illnesses such as Ross Rover Virus and Dengue Fever in New Zealand. This involves:

  • Doing regular mosquito surveys at entry points (e.g. Timaru and Lyttelton Ports and Christchurch International Airport)
  • Responding to suspected exotic mosquito sightings/reports, and
  • Answering questions and complaints about mosquitos.

New Zealand is an appealing environment for exotic mosquitoes and it is possible that they could feel very at home in the South Island. New Zealand has 12 native species of mosquito and 3 well-established introduced species. Once established, they are very difficult and expensive to get rid of.

Lyttelton is one of New Zealand’s busiest seaports, receiving tonnes of high risk cargo (tyres, cars and machinery) every week from destinations such as Japan and other Asian countries. It has the mosquito-friendly habitats of large areas of bush land and a town in very close proximity.

Christchurch International Airport receives passengers and cargo from around the world. It has many sites that would suit container-breeding mosquitoes.


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Order copies from the Community Health Information Centre.

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Contact your local CPH office for further information:

CANTERBURY
Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6125

SOUTH CANTERBURY
Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Fax: +64 3 688 6091

WEST COAST
Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Fax: +64 3 768 1169

Page last updated: 08/09/2016

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