22 Aug 2018
Johne’s disease is a chronic disease which progressively damages the intestines and after a period of scouring and weight loss, ultimately results in the animal’s death. It causes huge economic loss to the national cattle industry
and yet its presence goes unrecognised in many herds. It is also a notifiable disease within Northern Ireland.
In order to minimise the losses caused by Johne’s disease it is important to define a herd’s disease status and then to take appropriate action. If Johne’s disease is confirmed in a herd, controlling the disease to limit its impact will depend on biosecurity, hygiene and enlisting the farm vet’s help to identify Map-infected animals so they can
be culled thereby minimising the spread of the infectious organism in the environment.
Vaccination may have a role in helping to control Johne’s disease, but only in heavily infected herds to reduce the incidence of clinical disease while other hygiene measures are put in place to reduce the incidence of Map infection.
It is not a long term solution, as it will not necessarily prevent infection with Map or the disease spreading. Vaccination may also interfere with the diagnosis of bovine tuberculosis.