What is Johne’s disease and should we worry?

THE Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry said yesterday the State Government was looking forward to working with Hope Dairies and helping them to develop an appropriate biosecurity plan.

"Requirements apply to the introduction of dairy cattle from other states and territories into Queensland," a DAFF spokesman said.

"These requirements are designed to protect Queensland's livestock industries from diseases such as Bovine Johne's Disease."

Johne's disease is a serious wasting disease that affects a wide range of animals.

Animalhealthaustralia.com says that in Australia it has been found in cattle, sheep, goats, deer and camelids. It is caused by bacteria that live mainly in animal intestines but can also survive in the outside environment for several months.

While cross-infection between species can occur, different strains of the bacteria cause infection in different animals. The strain of bacteria mainly affecting cattle, goats, camelids and deer in Australia is known as bovine Johne's disease.

Kenilworth dairy farmer and KAP candidate Shane Paulger's farm has been in lockdown for a year because he refuses to put down a prize-winning cow suspected of having the disease.

"Any producers intending to bring in livestock from other states/territories should follow the livestock entry requirements in Queensland which can be found on the DAFF website," the DAFF spokesman said. That website is:


Johne's disease affects animals by causing a thickening of the intestinal wall which blocks the normal absorption of food.