Introduction Regional and global disease eradication remains attractive for epidemiologists and policy makers (Science 2010;330:1736–9). New Zealand has successfully eradicated endemic brucellosis and hydatids. It recently eradicated the southern saltmarsh mosquito (SSM), Aedes camptorhynchus, a vector for Ross River virus. In some areas of the country bovine tuberculosis appears to have been eliminated via various control measures relating to the brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula).
Methods We searched the literature for documents from the relevant organisations, and communicated with officials involved in the eradication efforts.
Results Some of the major lessons we identified for successful eradication efforts in this country were:
Having a clear goal of achieving eradication.
The disease/vector ecology and the points of intervention.
Having effective tools available to achieve eradication
Multidisciplinary funding from, and collaboration across, government agencies (agricultural, biosecurity, health) especially for hydatids control and SSM eradication.
Having well-planned and well-resourced campaigns that could continue for 10+ years.
Having detailed surveillance systems to guide refinements of eradication efforts and to confirm success.
Conclusions New Zealand has been able to eradicate some zoonotic diseases and exotic disease vectors with well-designed campaigns. Lessons from such control efforts may be relevant to other countries (especially island nations) to protect human health, animal health and ecosystem health. Such tools, skills and collaborative efforts will be useful in facing the challenges of the future such as disease and vector eradication in the face of climate change.
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