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NIAA Web site focuses on Johne's disease information; plus a Missouri program update.

Jerilyn Johnson, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

May 20, 2008

2 Min Read

The latest information on Johne's disease is just a click away at www.animalagriculture.org. Once you call up the homepage, click on the "National Johne's Education Initiative" logo on the right side of the web page.

Michele Vise-Brown, chief executive officer for the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, explains that Johne's (pronounced "Yo-nees") disease is a slow, progressive intestinal tract disease that affects ruminants and costs the beef and dairy industries millions of dollars each year. Research shows that one out of 10 animals moving through livestock auction markets is infected with Johne's.

"This is a livestock disease that should not be ignored," Vise-Brown says. "USDA has charged the National Institute for Animal Agriculture to help educate and inform producers and veterinarians about Johne's disease - its prevention, control and testing."

Among the other many items available at the Web site is a list of approved Johne's laboratories and copies of the handbook for veterinarians and dairy producers and the handbook for veterinarians and beef producers.

Missouri program tests for Johne's

The Missouri Department of Agriculture's Animal Health Division reports that 12,177 cows, representing 360 beef and dairy herds in Missouri, were tested for Johne's disease last year. Ninety-nine animals tested positive for Johne's disease. Of the 360 herds tested last year, 327 farms participated in the Missouri Voluntary Johne's Disease Control Program management plan.

The Missouri Johne's Disease Control Program has three objectives: Reduce the possibility of introducing Johne's disease into uninfected herds, minimize the impact of Johne's disease in herds already infected, and control existing cases. Efforts to expand the program and educate more bovine veterinarians and producers have been hampered, however, by lack of funding.

"Federal funding for Johne's disease control has been on the decline in recent years due to budget cuts," says Dr. Linda Hickam, MDA Johne's disease coordinator. "It's now up to the state to meet our program funding needs."

In the new MDA budget, $50,000 was appropriated to the Johne's program for 2008-09, Hickam notes. With $34,200 in federal funding added, Missouri's total budget for Johne's disease control is $84,200.

Contact Linda Hickam at 573-526-0860, or visit www.mda.mo.gov/johnes.

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