Orange's DPI staff to help Queensland stop outbreak of white sport virus

HELP: Primary industries staff Simone Catorall and Natalie Offner, with deputy chief veterinary officer Juliet Corish, will head to Queensland. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

HELP: Primary industries staff Simone Catorall and Natalie Offner, with deputy chief veterinary officer Juliet Corish, will head to Queensland. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is sending staff from Orange to help Queensland eradicate an exotic disease affecting prawns. 

Orange’s Natalie Offner and Simone Catorall will join efforts. 

DPI deputy chief veterinary officer Juliet Corish said extra help was being sent to Queensland to help protect NSW’s fishing industry. She said there was significant risk to all farmed and wild crustaceans including prawns, crabs and lobsters.

“This white spot disease has no impact to human health, cooking prawns kills the virus,” Ms Corish said.

“We want to warn people not to use prawns meant for human consumption for bait while fishing, it can potentially spread the disease.”

Ms Offner works in emergency operations, intelligence and programs. It’s not the first time she has traveled interstate to assist, she’s previously assisted with cases of Panama disease which affects bananas.

“I’ll work out of the local co-ordination centre, creating daily reports on the latest information such as the numbers of infected locations, where and what is being done,” she said.

Simon Catorall is one of the first communications staff sent from the NSW DPI in “recent memory”.

She’ll be taking information provided by people working on the ground to thwart the white spot virus and sharing it with associated industries, the media and general public.

It’s the first time she’s traveled interstate to assist with a disease outbreak.

“I’m looking to learn and bring back information to the Central West and NSW.”

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