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

Page last updated: Thursday, 29 March 2018 - 1:51pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Johne's disease (JD) in cattle is a regulated disease in Western Australia. The decison to regulate the control of JD in cattle is made by the WA cattle industry, and is funded by the Cattle Industry Funding Scheme. 

This means there are controls in place when bringing JD-susceptible livestock into WA, and that controls are used if the disease in found here. It also means that surveillance is undertaken to detect any JD incursions in WA. 

Reporting JD in cattle

JD in cattle is a reportable animal disease under WA legislation. The presence or suspicion of this disease must be reported immediately to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

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.

Regulatory requirements for JD in cattle in WA

JD in cattle is regulated under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 and its subsidiary legislation.

The decision to regulate the control of JD in cattle in WA is made by the WA cattle industry, through the WA Industry BJD Advisory Committee and the Cattle Industry Management Committee (IMC). The regulatory control program is funded by industry through the Cattle Industry Funding Scheme

It is a legal requirement that any person who suspects or has reason to suspect JD in an animal must notify the Department so that further investigation can be undertaken.

Control program

The WA JD in cattle control program is designed to maintain the negligible presence status 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 disease 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. All requirements for bringing livestock into WA can be found on the webpage Importing livestock into Western Australia

Intra-state controls for JD in cattle

If a property is under investigation for 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 JD is found, eradication of the disease may be undertaken. 

The decision to eradicate will be made by the Cattle IMC following industry consultation. If livestock are destroyed as part of a regulated disease eradication program, compensation is generally available.  

Surveillance for JD in cattle

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

  • General surveillance includes the 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 involves the targeted testing of statistically significant numbers of animals to provide evidence that the disease is not present. This generally involves testing higher risk herds - for example, those that have imported animals from parts of Australia where the disease is endemic. 

It is critical that the control program is supported by scientifically valid evidence that the disease is not present, and that it would be found if the disease were present. 

Previous cases of JD in cattle in WA 

Twelve cases of JD were detected in cattle in WA between 1952 and 2017. In most cases the disease was linked to imported cattle. Infection was found to have spread to WA cattle in the 2006 incident. The disease was successfully eradicated in all cases.

Protecting your herd from JD

Tools are available to help you protect your business from JD. This may be particularly important for seedstock producers or those that export to JD-sensitive markets. 

More information on these tools can be found on the Department's Johne's Beef Assurance Score webpage.

Contact information

Bruce Twentyman
+61 (0)8 9363 4127