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

Page last updated: Friday, 17 July 2020 - 6:13pm

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.

JD in cattle must be reported

All strains of JD in cattle [ovine/sheep (S-strain), cattle (C-strain and bison-strain)] 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: Animal Biosecurity and Welfare contacts.

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

All strains of JD are recorded and taken into account when undertaking Property of Origin certification. This certification underpins international health certification by the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment for JD-relevant markets.

Control program

The WA JD in cattle control program is designed to maintain the negligible level of JD (C-strain) 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 present in WA
  • regulatory controls if JD (C-strain) 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-infected 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 JD (C-strain) 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 JD (C-strain) 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. 
  • Targeted surveillance - testing of statistically significant numbers of animals to provide evidence of absence at defined levels. This generally involves testing higher risk herds such as those that have imported animals from parts of Australia where the disease is endemic. 

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.

More information about JD

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