The possibility of humans eating Mycoplasma bovis on meat or drinking milk from infected cattle has been dismissed by officials and food safety experts as "low risk".
The Department of Primary Industries (MPI) said the disease is not a food safety risk. Regarding the eradication of 152,000 cattle and the question of whether their meat or milk could endanger human health, concerns were raised again.
"There is no problem with consuming beef or drinking milk from infected herds for decades consuming products from cattle with Mycoplasma bovis," MPI said.
It added that M. bovis did not survive pasteurization and since most New Zealand milk is pasteurized, it would only exist in raw milk.
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She focused in particular on a paper written in 2004 by British GD experts Pitcher and R.A.J. Nicholas, who investigated the possibility of crossing animal mycoplasma with humans. There are more than 100 mycoplasmas, of which Mycoplasma bovis is only one.
The authors found that only two cases of M. bovis infection were present. Animal mycoplasma (not just M. bovis) has been found in humans whose immune system has been compromised more frequently, though not always.
"While it is true that such patients are susceptible to a variety of microbial infections, it is well established that patients with hypogammaglobulinemia or who receive immunosuppressants have a particular susceptibility to mycoplasma infections."
They noted the 1979 case of an American woman where M Bovis was isolated in her throat. She was already suffering from bronchopneumonia and central nervous system anomalies.
Her only contact with cattle was that she had been exposed to cow dung during gardening three weeks before the onset of symptoms. After treatment with tetracycline (an antibiotic), the disease subsided.
In the other case of M.bovis infection, the Ministry of Health noted that there were "sparse" details and that the person was again responding to tetracycline treatment. Frenchman, director of the New Zealand food safety research center at Massey University, said other diseases, such as Campylobacter and Salmonella Be Much Worrying
"I think people with a deficient immune system may be susceptible to infections There is so little evidence that Mycoplasma bovis could be an important source of human infection, especially through the food chain."
"It is one of those examples of something so unlikely that I do not think there is cause for concern.