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Targeted surveillance under way for Johne’s disease in cattle in Western Australia

Released on

Released on:
Thursday, 31. May 2018 - 9:30

A targeted surveillance program is under way to determine if Johne’s disease (JD) in cattle is present in Western Australia.

The surveillance testing is being carried out by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) on behalf of the Cattle Industry Funding Scheme (CIFS), which is funding the program.

CIFS Management Committee chair Steve Meerwald said that the program was designed to scientifically determine the JD status of beef and dairy herds across the State.

“The surveillance program is needed in order to inform WA industry’s decision making on whether to continue to regulate JD in cattle in WA in the future, including whether to maintain border controls,” Mr Meerwald said.

“Under the risk-based surveillance program, WA properties were invited to undertake testing on the basis of having imported cattle since 2005 from the eastern states, where the prevalence of JD in cattle is higher than in WA.”

To date, DPIRD has carried out sampling on 76 of 100 targeted properties.

Testing has been completed for 62 properties and all have received negative results for JD in their cattle herds.

DPIRD Animal Disease Control manager Bruce Twentyman said that the new national arrangements for JD categorised all forms of JD together, so WA was no longer considered ‘free’ of JD because ovine Johne’s disease (OJD – or ‘sheep strain’) was present in the State’s sheep population.

“Testing under the targeted surveillance program has found no evidence of either sheep (S)-strain or cattle (C)-strain of JD in the 62 WA cattle herds, where test results have been received to date,” Dr Twentyman said.

“An additional 77 WA cattle properties have completed voluntary testing for their Johne’s Beef Assurance Score (J-BAS) and have also tested negative for JD.”

Mr Meerwald said the Cattle Industry Funding Scheme would keep industry informed about the progress of the surveillance program and consult with industry if any significant detections occurred, prior to deciding on a course of action.

The committee and department have issued a Joint Industry Update, which has further details about the surveillance program.


Media contacts:

Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, 9368 3937