Johne's disease is an infectious wasting condition of cattle and other ruminants caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, commonly known as Map. It is closely related to the organism that causes tuberculosis.
The disease progressively damages the intestines of affected animals, and in cattle this results in profuse and persistent diarrhoea, severe weight loss, loss of condition and infertility. Affected animals eventually and inevitably die.
In dairy herds, the presence of Johne's disease will significantly reduce milk yields well before other signs of the disease can be found. Johne's disease is not a notifiable disease in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), but it is notifiable in Northern Ireland.
Current Situation in Scotland
The disease is widespread in cattle throughout Britain.
The Paraban (2010-2013) and Paraban Reloaded (2013-2015) projects were knowledge exchange initiatives for control of paratuberculosis (Johne’s disease) in Scottish cattle. The original Paraban project was based around nine Champion farms with known paratuberculosis infection in the herd to serve as exemplar models for the rest of the farming community in their approach to tackling the disease. Champion farmers showcased their farms in a series of KE events thus engendering a “follow the leader” approach. The desired legacy of Paraban was to change attitudes and increase engagement for paratuberculosis control such that a significant reduction of paratuberculosis in Scotland may be achieved in the longer term. Paraban Reloaded then disseminated the findings more broadly through a series of 21 KE workshops across Scotland reaching over 500 farmers, 99% of whom declared that they would act upon recommendations that had been made in the workshops.
A range of training materials, including farm case studies, were developed from the Paraban projects and are available on the website (http://www.paraban.co.uk)