Johne's disease, also known as paratuberculosis, is a major wasting disease that affects all ruminant animals. It is a chronic intestinal disease, with a long incubation period and is usually fatal. Johne's diseases is responsible for significant financial losses to the livestock industriesand losses include decreased productivity, increased sensitively to other diseases and infertility. It is caused by a bacteria (Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis) and is spread by the ingestion of faeces from an infected animal, through colostrum or milk and across the placenta to unborn animals.
Diagnosis is problematic and control options are very limited.
PARABAN was a three year project looking at how to control Johne's disease. It was funded by the Scottish Funding Council, in partnership with Scottish Government and industry. There were four research groups involved in the project: SRUC, University of Glasgow, University of Edinburgh and the James Hutton Institute. Industry contributions, some of it in kind, were co ordinated by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). The partners worked with volunteer beef or dairy farmers and their vets, from across Scotland and into Cumbria.
This video highlights the outputs from the PARABAN project. It shows that it is possible to significantly reduce on-farm infection, but often requires a long term, strategic approach to disease control and the commitment of the farmer and his vet.