Diagnostic Tests for Johnes Disease in Deer

35 pages
Published: 1 Jun 2003
Author(s): Christopher Schroen,Tracey Bradley, Wendy McDonald
ISBN: 0-642-58667-5
Johnes disease was initially detected in a Victorian dairy herd in 1925. Since then it has infected an estimated 20% of Victorian dairy herds and during the 1980s and 90s has become established in sheep flocks in NSW and Victoria. Johnes disease is caused by an infection of the gut by Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis, all domestic and many wild ruminant species are known to be susceptible. In 2000, deer with subclinical and clinical forms of Johnes disease were detected for the first time in Australia. National programs for the control of bovine and ovine Johnes disease have been established by the livestock industries and animal health authorities. These programs established Standard Definitions and Rules in an attempt to reduce the spread of the disease by zoning, providing market assurance programs and reducing the impact on farms by reducing the prevalence of infection. These control strategies are dependent on effective diagnostic technology. Currently the approved diagnostic test for Johnes disease in live deer is individual faecal culture. In contrast, strategies for pooled faecal culture have been developed and approved for flock diagnosis in sheep and the ELISA is used extensively in cattle. This research project developed and evaluated a modified commercial ELISA and pooled faecal culture for the detection of Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis infection in deer. The report details the experimental development of the tests, the performance of the tests in infected and non-infected deer herds and discusses the application of the tests for detection of disease in individual animals, detection of infected herds and for market assurance program applications. Benefits from the project are directed towards increased productivity and Johnes disease control strategies concurrent with other industries.

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