Testing for BJD

20 Jul, 2006 07:00 PM
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NEIGHBOURS of the Albany property infected with Bovine Johne's Disease (BJD) are being tested amid calls from some locals to release the property's exact location.

It is understood the decision to release property details is at the landholder's discretion.

According to the Agriculture Department, it is public policy not to release the producer's name because it would deter other producers from reporting cases.

Animals Health Australia said it was normal procedure to keep the name confidential.

While this is not the first time a WA beef herd has been infected with the wasting disease, Animals Health Australia Johne's Disease manager Lorna Citer said it was less common for BJD to exist in beef herds compared to dairy herds.

A Margaret River beef herd was infected with the disease in 1983.

Ms Citer said there were 90 beef herds currently infected with BJD throughout Australia, while more than 1000 dairy herds were reportedly infected.

She said beef herds were less likely to come into contact with contaminated pasture, which enabled BJD's faecal to oral transmission.

Calves were particularly at risk of contracting BJD.

Agriculture Department animal biosecurity acting director Richard Norris said neighbours were currently being tested and the herd's history was being traced.

Mr Norris said the newly established BJD advisory committee - which met for the first time last week - was established to provide industry representation and input into the case of BJD.

He said the committee reviewed details of the incident and discussed plans.

While some Albany cattle producers have called for the name of the infected property to be released, Alistair Murray does not share their view.

Mr Murray, an Albany cattle producer, said he did not think the case was a big deal.

"We've had it here in WA before and managed to clean it up then," he said.

Mr Murray said the name of the property should not be released.

"It is not like it is going to spread like wildfire," he said.

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