WA firm on protecting BJD-free status despite positive test

James Nason, 15/08/2013

BJD zones across Australia. Yellow = Management area; Blue = Beef Protected Area; Green = Protected Zone; White = Free Zone.Western Australian officials say latest results from the State’s ongoing Bovine Johne’s Disease testing program continue to support the industry’s policy of maintaining WA as a BJD Free Zone.

The WA Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) has been testing cattle on several properties in the Kimberley since late last year after a Queensland stud which had sold bulls to the properties was confirmed to have been infected with BJD last November. 

WA is currently classifed as  BJD Free Zone under the National BJD Program and testing has been underway to determine if any of the imported bulls were infected with BJD and, if so, whether the disease has spread to other cattle or other properties. 

DAFWA Livestock Biosecurity Director Dr Michelle Rodan said that while the results have confirmed that at least one of the imported bulls was infected with BJD, overall results from the testing program supported the view that WA’s goal of maintaining its BJD Free status was achieveable.

To date, 177 imported bulls have been located and sampled, Dr Rodan said.

“One bull, although not displaying clinical signs, has been confirmed as shedding BJD bacteria, meaning there has been a risk of transmission to other cattle,” Dr Rodan said.

“As a result, the impacted property is undertaking a destock of at-risk animals which have had contact with the bull.

“A second bull, on another property, had evidence of infection but was demonstrated not to be shedding BJD bacteria.

“The testing indicates that this bull would have posed a risk of infection to other animals in the future if not culled as part of this program.”

Dr Rodan said herd testing for 2013 had been completed on three other properties and there had been no evidence of infection in those herds to date.

“Herd testing on the remaining two properties continues,” she said.

Dr Rodan said the impacted properties were still subject to movement restrictions and testing in accordance with the National Johne’s Disease Program requirements for a BJD Free Zone.

Testing was likely to be ongoing for several years.

“The department is working with affected producers to minimise the impact of movement restrictions,” she said.

“Movement of certain low-risk classes of cattle off restricted properties is allowed under permit and in accordance with the national program.”

Dr Rodan reminded producers of additional import conditions for beef cattle from Queensland entering Western Australia now in effect.

“These conditions were introduced in response to industry concerns about reducing the risk of introducing BJD into the State,” she said. “Additional requirements involve a herd-of-origin CattleMAP status of MN2 or MN3, or a negative herd ‘Check Test’ for BJD.”

Conditions of entry for stock being moved into WA are set out in the Health Certificate for Movement of Stock into Western Australia (LB1) available at


RELATED ARTICLE:  Qld industry unites on BJD policy


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