Control of Johne’s disease (JD) in cattle in Western Australia

Page last updated: Monday, 15 April 2019 - 12:00pm

C-strain of Johne's disease (JD) in cattle is not known to be present in Western Australia.

Following national deregulation of JD, the WA cattle industry has requested that the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) continue to regulate C-strain of JD and to maintain border controls. This decision was informed by an economic assessment of the potential costs of C-strain of JD in cattle should it enter and become established in WA. The report is available on the Department website – search Economic impact evaluation of bovine Johne’s disease.

Reporting JD in cattle

All strains of JD in cattle are reportable under WA legislation. The presence or suspicion of this disease must be reported immediately to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

During office hours, contact your nearest Department field veterinary officer - see the webpage: Livestock Biosecurity contacts.

After hours, contact the exotic disease toll free hotline on 1800 675 888.

There are border biosecurity requirements in place when bringing JD-susceptible livestock into WA and regulatory controls may be implemented if C-strain of JD is detected in WA. Targeted and general surveillance are also undertaken to continue to verify the prevalence of JD in the WA herd.

JD in cattle must be reported

All strains (ovine/sheep (S-strain), cattle (C-strain) and bison) of JD in cattle are reportable under WA legislation. The presence or suspicion of JD must be reported immediately to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

During office hours, contact your nearest DPIRD field veterinary officer - see the webpage: Livestock Biosecurity contacts.

After hours, contact the exotic disease hotline on 1800 675 888.

All strains of JD are recorded and taken into account when undertaking Property of Origin certification for JD-relevant markets.

Control program

The WA JD in cattle control program is designed to maintain the negligible level of JD in cattle in WA. It includes:

  • border controls to minimise the risk of introducing JD in cattle into WA
  • surveillance to find the disease if it were present in WA
  • regulatory controls if C-strain of JD is detected to minimise the risk of spread.

Importing JD-susceptible livestock into WA

Border controls are in place to minimise the risk of bringing JD in cattle into WA. See the requirements on the webpages Importing livestock into Western Australia and Border controls for JD-susceptible stock

Intra-state controls for JD in cattle

If a property is under investigation for C-strain of JD in cattle, regulatory restrictions are put in place to manage the risk of disease spreading to other properties. Affected properties remain under regulatory restrictions until all investigations have been finalised. If C-strain of JD is found, a number of factors will be taken into account before ongoing management is determined. 

The decision will be made in consultation with the Cattle Industry Funding Scheme Management Committee following industry consultation.

Surveillance for JD in cattle

There are two forms of surveillance undertaken for JD in cattle in WA:

  • General surveillance - investigation of any animals that show signs of disease suggestive of JD, or that have a positive screening test results, for example if they are blood tested prior to export. 
  • Targeted surveillance - targeted testing of statistically significant numbers of animals to provide evidence that JD is at a low level in WA. This generally involves testing higher risk herds such as those that have imported animals from parts of Australia where the disease is endemic. 

To inform future decisions around regulation, the cattle industry (via the WA Cattle Industry Funding Scheme Management Committee) has funded a targeted surveillance program for C-strain that commenced in September 2017 and will be completed by the end of 2019. For the results of the targeted surveillance program to date, see the Industry updates in the document section of the webpage JD in cattle.

Previous cases of C-strain of JD in cattle in WA 

A total of 12 cases of C-strain of JD have been detected in cattle in WA between 1952 and 2019. The most recent detection occurred in 2012. In most cases the disease was linked to imported cattle. The disease was successfully eradicated in all cases and is currently not known to be present in WA.

Previous cases of S-strain of JD in cattle in WA

As of 15 April 2019, WA has had three clinical cases of S-strain in cattle, with the first in a cow in 2013. See the webpages JD in cattle and S-strain of JD in cattle for more information.

More information about JD

Tools are available to help you protect your business from JD and to manage S-strain if it occurs. This may be particularly important for seedstock producers or those who export to JD-relevant markets. 

Visit the DPIRD website for more information on:

or see the Animal Health Australia website for more information on the national JD framework and biosecurity management tools.

Contact information

Jamie Finkelstein
+61 (0)8 9368 3805