A small, Auckland research firm is developing a more sensitive test for Mycoplasma bovis.
The number of farms under suspicion has also increased recently.
In its second update of the year, dated January 15, the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) said 242 farms were under active surveillance.
Five days prior, in MPI's first update of the year on January 10, 228 farms were under active surveillance.
That number was lower than it had ever been since MPI introduced new reporting and management categories last April. 254 were recorded as being under surveillance at that time.
Meanwhile, 202 farms are under a Notice of Direction (NOD), under which movement controls are in place and testing is underway, either because the farm may have received an infected animal or it has recorded a positive bulk milk test. That figure is also continuing a decline since highs of more than 300 around September and October.
As of January 15, there have been 220 confirmed cases of the disease, up by six since the final 2019 official update just before Christmas. 167 are in the South Island and 53 in the North Island. Of these, 195 properties have been cleared while 25 remain active.
MPI has paid out over $124 million in compensation. Over 1500 claims were paid and completed: 123 claims were being processed, and MPI said new claims were being paid within 23 working days, on average.