A NEW case of Ovine Johnes Disease (OJD) has been found in WA.

31 May, 2007 07:00 PM

The find comes at a time when no surveillance is being done for the disease in WA.

Random abattoir surveillance was carried out in the past on 1000 lines of sheep.

Proposed changes to the national approach for managing OJD are set to be implemented in July this year, which would see Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) or a contracted third party respon-sible for domestic surveillance.

Department animal biosecurity director Ashley Mercy said the latest case of OJD was detected in a six-year-old ewe that was part of a mob in a grazing trial that were purcha-sed from an Albany property in 2006.

³The purchased sheep were accompanied by a Sheep Health Statement indicating the vendor did not suspect they were infected with OJD,² Dr Mercy said.

³The sheep in the trial showing signs of infection will be slaughtered and at the end of the trial, the rem-aining sheep will also be sent to an abattoir for slaughter.²

Dr Mercy said this was a timely reminder to all farmers about the importance of closely monitoring stock, and acting immediately at the first signs of anything unusual.

³The nature of OJD is that it takes up to four years before symptoms become visible, and even if the best possible precau-tions are taken, there is always some risk of the disease un-knowingly being introduced in flocks,² he said.

³It is a very difficult disease to diagnose because the animal can take a long time to show symptoms and you cannot really pick it up by just looking at the animal.

³Farmers neighbouring the research station and other trace flocks are being notified to inspect their sheep and report anything unusual.

³The department is also developing a Property Disease Management Program to reduce the risk of spread of infection within and from the research station.²


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