Elimination of AFB in New Zealand
The goal of the AFB NPMP is to eliminate American foulbrood in managed colonies (i.e., beehives) in New Zealand. The beekeeping industry is breaking new ground in setting this goal. Elimination of AFB has not been achieved on a national scale before, although there are examples of other animal diseases being eradicated from a country (e.g. the eradication of hydatids from New Zealand).
Elimination of AFB is seen as possible in New Zealand both because the country has a relatively small population of honey bee colonies (estimated to be 550,000 including feral colonies), and because importations of additional colonies and other materials capable of carrying AFB, are controlled.
Some New Zealand beekeepers have also shown that elimination on a national level is possible. By destroying colonies with AFB instead of using antibiotics, and using management techniques to avoid the spread of the disease to other hives, they have effectively eliminated the disease from their own businesses.
Finally, the chances of AFB elimination are enhanced by the current low incidence of the disease in New Zealand, its relatively low infectivity, and varroa eliminating unmanaged colonies.
The goal of the New Zealand AFB programme is to eliminate AFB from New Zealand.