OVINE JOHNE'S DISEASE
(OJD) Ovine Mycobacterium paratuberculosis
Recent research has uncovered persuasive evidence that suggests that Johne's disease of ruminants and Crohn's disease in humans is caused by the same organism. Evidence suggests that m paratuberculosis is present in our food and possibly in our water supplies. Is Johne's another BSE situation in embryo? Follow these links, read the facts and decide yourself.
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CROHN'S DISEASE. THE FACTS.
Crohn's disease appears to be a caused by the presense of m paratuberculosis in the upper human intestinal tract. Sufferers display symptoms similar to those typical of Johne's disease.
OJD. THE FACTS.
Ovine Johne's Disease is the description given to sheep suffering from an M. Paratuberculosis (bacterial) infection. The symptoms are a general "wasting" of infected animals. OJD is often mistaken for a range of other problems (abscess, worms, fluke, and dietary deficiency). Losses up to 5% have been reported in Australia. In NZ and other countries where the disease is endemic anecdotal evidence is that losses stabilize in the range 1% to 3% pa.
OJD was first detected in Australia circa 1980 in the central tablelands of NSW. At last count it had been detected in 160 flocks in NSW, 42 in Victoria and 6 in Tasmania. There are reports that many producers are "keeping quiet about the potential presence of OJD because they feared huge trading losses." (Land, 24 April 1997, p9). It seems reasonable to infer that what has been reported is only the tip of an iceberg.
OJD is known to be spread by ingestion of pasture contaminated with infected fecal matter, and is known to be spread by the transport of infected fecal matter in waterways. Young animals are more susceptible, and it appears that they can be infected by mother's milk. The bacterium has been reported to persist for longer than one year on the pasture. The question as to whether wildlife can carry OJD remains unanswered, but it is known that Bovine Johne's Disease although a strain distinct from OJD can be carried by sheep.
With present technology it is not possible to reliably diagnose OJD in individual live sheep. If OJD is present the entire flock is assumed to be infected.
SUMMARY JOHNE'S DISEASE is potentially a health catastrophe. JOHNE'S DISEASE is not a problem that farmers can solve alone. JOHNE'S DISEASE must be contained before possibility becomes pestilence. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TO AVOID THIS ISSUE. ACT NOW! EMAIL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE.