Perth Airport’s sanitising foot-and-mouth disease mats pass first test

Passengers arriving at Perth Airport from Indonesia will now have to walk across sanitising mats filled with citric acid.

It comes as authorities try to prevent an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in that country spreading to Australia.

The mats, which are being used around the country, were rolled out for the first time in Perth on Monday for a flight returning from the popular holiday island of Bali.

Returning holiday-maker Daniel del Borrello described the process as quick and easy.

“All you’ve got to do is walk through black mats and let it clean your shoes. It’s pretty nice actually, free shoe cleaning,” he said.

A man with a short beard wearing a jacket smiles.
Daniel del Borrello was not fazed by the process on his return from Bali on Monday. (ABC News)

“It takes like five seconds.”

Even passengers in thongs did not seem to mind the procedure.

Cleaning mats a practical reminder

The Principal of Murdoch University’s school of veterinary science, Dr Henry Annandale, said the mats were also a good reminder to people to clean their footwear if they have been overseas.

“It’s important that you try and clean the shoes before you walk on the mat and that when you walk on the mat you sort of stand on it a little bit and then walk off,” he told ABC Radio Perth.

“Nothing is 100 per cent effective at decontaminating in a short period of time.

“We need people to also take responsibility for getting the muck off your shoes.”

Foot and mouth disease mat 2
A woman in open shoes had no issue walking over the mat at Perth Airport on Monday. (Supplied: Perth Airport)

Dr Annandale said traces of active virus could be found on footwear seven to 11 weeks later and survived longer in colder temperatures.

But he said the main concern was from people bringing in contaminated animal products and foodstuffs.

‘Always been out there’

Premier Mark McGowan welcomed the installation of the mats.

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