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National Significant Disease Investigation Program

Non-government veterinary practitioners (private veterinary practitioners) play a key role in general surveillance in Australia, providing expertise for evaluating, clinically investigating and reporting outbreaks of significant disease in animals. The National Significant Disease Investigation (NSDI) Program was initiated in June 2009 to facilitate investigation of significant disease events by non-government veterinary practitioners otherwise limited by competing priorities and commercial realities, such as the low economic value of individual animals relative to the cost of veterinary services. From July 2016, the scope of NSDI Program activities was expanded to include training of private veterinary practitioners in disease investigation, to increase the level of knowledge, skill and confidence to investigate and report on disease events.

Significant disease events

Significant disease events are broadly defined as those clinically consistent with national notifiable animal diseases or diseases showing an increasing incidence and/or an expanding geographic or host range. Where there is a genuine suspicion of an emergency animal disease, the relevant state/territory government department will lead and fund an investigation.

Please note: Where there is a genuine suspicion of a notifiable animal disease it is the veterinary practitioner’s legal responsibility to notify their state or territory animal health authority.

Disease Investigation subsidies

Disease investigation subsidies are available for field work (e.g. clinical evaluation and/or necropsy, collection of diagnostic samples), laboratory diagnostic work, and a follow-up field investigation, if required.

Eligible veterinary practitioners

Registered non-government veterinarians engaged in clinical veterinary medicine – including veterinary practitioners in university clinics, zoos and wildlife parks – are eligible to participate in the program.

For further information about participating in the program for livestock disease events please visit your relevant government web page.

For further information about participating in the program for wildlife disease events, please visit Wildlife Health Australia’s NSDI Program page.


Page reviewed: 19/02/2019