Disease First Found Among Queensland Beef May Have Already Spread

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | November 30, 2012 4:27 PM EST

The Bovine Johne's Disease (BJD) first detected among a number of cattle herd in Central Queensland may have already spread out, possibly infecting 160 properties.

As such, possibly infected properties will have to face cattle movement restrictions for a number of months in order to contain the further spread out of the deadly disease.

Those identified as possibly infected properties are in Queensland, New South Wales and the Northern Territory.

"Affected producers are urged not to move or slaughter trace forward stock as this may greatly extend the time a property is under movement restrictions," John McVeigh, Queensland minister for agriculture, fisheries and forestry, said on Friday.

"(We are) focusing very much on eradicating or proving that those individual properties are free of concern as soon as possible," Mr McVeigh told ABC.

"If not, and if there is a risk, we'll be looking at eradicating the risk and working out the best way to do that and ensuring that we are conscious of the operating and particularly the commercial needs of those individual operators."

The potentially deadly muscle-wasting BJD poses no risk to human health. However, no effective treatment has been discovered to prevent and control the spread of the disease among infected cattle.

"We're obviously under quarantine still and we've got no plan to eradicate the disease," Ashley Kirk from Rockley Brahmans told APN News.

"We'll just live with it and do the best we can to manage it ourselves. (We'll be) starting afresh with IVF work and work on getting some clean paddocks so we can rebuild and start our herd through that again."

A soil-borne disease, BJD generally infects young calves but doesn't become obvious until after a couple of years. BJD is prevalent in Victoria as well as parts of South Australia and New South Wales.

"I understand that this will be a difficult and challenging process for some livestock owners. Biosecurity Queensland is working closely with all parties to contain any further infection and resolve cases as quickly as we can," Mr McVeigh said.

Read more:

Rare Disease Detected among Queensland Beef

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