IT WAS discovered early this week Bovine Johne's Disease has infected a beef cattle herd for years at a stud near Rockhampton.
BJD is a serious disease of cattle and other ruminant species which can cause chronic diarrhoea or ill-thrift, leading to emaciation and eventually death. There is no effective treatment - but BJD poses no threat to humans.
Biosecurity spokesman Mark Hodder said the property was under quarantine and plans were enforced to manage and eradicate the disease from the herd.
Given there have been substantial movement of stock from the affected property over recent years, there is some risk of disease spread.
There have been substantial cattle movements between the affected property and other properties including major stud and commercial cattle properties in Queensland and interstate.
These movements are being traced and risk assessments will be undertaken to determine the potential spread of disease. The source of infection is not yet clear.
Mr Hodder said the property had been in touch with clients who may have bought infected cattle.
"They should not cull them (the cattle)," Mr Hodder said.
"We may need to go properties to check on the status of cattle and if they've been culled we can't do that.
He said it was important any producer who held cattle from this property seek advice from their own veterinarian or Biosecurity Queensland.
Incoming AgForce Cattle Board president Howard Smith said the discovery created some management issues for the cattle industry.
"It is very rare for BJD to be detected in Queensland, as we are a protected zone under the National Bovine Johne's Disease Plan which has worked well in the past to manage and prevent the disease," Mr Smith said.
"The safety of eating beef and associated products will not be impacted by the detection of this disease in central Queensland. However, given there have been substantial movement of stock from the affected property over recent years, there is some risk of disease spread."
He said the discovery shouldn't impact upon commercial operations. "It is important to note BJD is present in most of the countries Australia trades with and this should not place the Queensland industry at any commercial disadvantage," Mr Smith said. "Furthermore, we have no reason to suggest at this stage we will not be able to maintain our protected status."
For information on BJD, contact biosecurity.qld.gov.au or phone 13 25 23.
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