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New Johne’s Disease Website Launched

27 November 2009

NEW ZEALAND - A new website has been launched to link farmers with the latest information on the animal wasting Johne’s disease.

“The website (www.jdrc.co.nz) is the public face of the Johne’s Disease Research Consortium which is developing tools to help farmers control the disease,” says Consortium Chairman Dr Andrew MacPherson.

“Each year the impact of Johne’s disease on animal health and production is estimated to cost up to NZ$88 million in New Zealand.

“Our website provides farmers with up-to-date information about Johne’s disease, and management practices for controlling the disease in New Zealand cattle, sheep and deer farming systems.”

The website also tells farmers about the Consortium’s research programme which aims to reduce the number of herds, and animals within herds, that are infected with Johne’s disease.

“Because it is a complex disease, there are several areas of work,” says Dr MacPherson.

“We are studying the pathobiology or fundamentals of Johne’s disease, developing better diagnostic tools that enable farmers and veterinarians to more easily identify infected animals, and examining the epidemiology of the disease – how it spreads.

“Genetics is another important research area. We are working to identify a gene marker that does not compromise production but will allow farmers to select for stock that are resistant to this wasting disease.”

The website will be updated as the Consortium’s research progresses and control options are developed.

Dr MacPherson says another function of the website is facilitating collaboration between Consortium researchers. Researchers are located at Massey University, AgResearch, University of Otago and Livestock Improvement Corporation, and they have links to overseas research groups with expertise in Johne’s disease.

In addition to the research organisations, other participants in the Consortium are Meat & Wool New Zealand, DairyNZ and DEEResearch. The Meat Industry Association and Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand are associate participants.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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