OJD now confirmed in Wheatbelt goat

19 Jul, 2000 03:00 PM
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CONFIRMATION of the presence of Ovine Johne's Disease in a goat in the Wheatbelt is not likely to affect WA's "declared free" status for the disease. Agriculture WA confirmed the diagnosis of OJD last week, following two months of testing and investigation of the wasting condition in the suspect animal. While plans are now being drawn up to eradicate the disease from the property, Agwest chief veterinary officer John Edwards said correct management procedures would preserve WA's status as a declared free zone for OJD. "WA is a declared free zone for Johne's disease, which, to be maintained, requires that any outbreaks be eradicated," Dr Edwards said. "Eradication can only be achieved by destocking, including in this case all sheep and goats on the infected property. "Agriculture WA and industry representatives are examining options to achieve that aim within the guidelines of the National Johne's Disease Program." The agency and industry are also considering options for a compensation mechanism to cover destocking requirements. A further five properties in the surrounding district of the incident will remain in quarantine, while further tracing and testing is undertaken to identify any risks to other properties. "The testing on quarantined suspect properties will continue for three years from last contact with the infected animal to detect any possible infection," Dr Edwards said. "There is little risk of the disease spreading from the infected property and ongoing surveillance will be used to monitor the situation." Investigations are now underway to determine how the goat became infected. Dr Edwards said it was not imported from the eastern states, so traceback investigations will help identify potential areas of infection. He said investigations were at an advanced stage, although a long lag time existed between the first suspicion of the disease and confirmation in laboratory tests. Meanwhile, WA has moved to tighten import conditions for sheep and cattle. These changes follow national moves to identify areas of relative risk for both ovine and bovine Johne's disease. The declaration of Johne's Disease Zones in the eastern states and the advancement of the status of individual flocks and herds in the national Market Assurance Program has enabled WA to progressively strengthen import restrictions. The new conditions require sheep being imported from flock in a Residual Zone or Control Zone to have a status of at least Monitored Negative Two (MN2) in the Sheep Market Assurance Program. Sheep being imported from a Protected Zone will require a Monitored Negative One (MN1) status. At present, all areas of other states are either a Residual Zone or Control Zone for Ovine Johne's disease. The Central Tablelands of NSW and Flinders Island are Residual Zones, while the remaining areas of the other states are Control Zones. The new conditions also require cattle being imported into WA from a herd in a Residual Zone or Control Zone to have a status of at least MN1 in the cattle (bovine) Market Assurance Program and the property of origin to have undergone an annual veterinary audit while at that status. Tasmania is a Residual Zone for Bovine Johne's disease, while Victoria, southern South Australia and south-eastern New South Wales are Control Zones.

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