News & Media

Department responding to BJD

Released on

Released on:
Thursday, 14. March 2013 - 14:15

The Department of Agriculture and Food is working with the cattle industry and Kimberley pastoralists on management options for bovine Johne’s disease (BJD), following an initial positive test from an imported bull.

The department has traced bulls imported over the past 13 years from a BJD infected herd in Queensland to six properties in the Kimberley.

A total of 109 traced bulls have been culled and samples taken for testing.

Department chief veterinary officer Peter Morcombe said individual bull and herd testing was not at a point where the definitive disease status of any WA properties could be finalised.

“An initial PCR test on one bull imported from the infected Queensland herd was positive,” Dr Morcombe said. “A follow-up culture test is underway to further inform the final result.

“Testing is still underway on this property to determine if the disease has spread to other animals. The risk of this occurring is likely to be lower from bulls than from cows.”

The department has met with cattle industry representatives in Perth to discuss future management options once a more definitive disease status for the properties is determined.

Representatives from the department will attend an industry meeting in Broome, organised by the Pastoralists and Graziers Association, next week to discuss BJD management options.

Dr Morcombe said a timeframe for property results could not be provided due to the need for additional testing to resolve some inconclusive results.

“The priority of both industry and the department is to minimise the impact of the disease while maintaining the economic sustainability of the Kimberley cattle industry,” he said.

“The department is working closely with affected pastoralists and the industry on this BJD response. We are also working actively with property owners to minimise the impact of movement restrictions.”

Media contact: Jodie Thomson, media liaison           +61 (0)8 9368 3937