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      Managing control programs for ovine caseous lymphadenitis and paratuberculosis in Australia, and the need for persistent vaccination

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          Ovine caseous lymphadenitis (CLA) and ovine Johne’s disease (OJD) or paratuberculosis have been serious diseases in the Australian sheep industry, mainly causing losses from abattoir condemnations from CLA or mortalities on the farm from OJD. CLA is now a disease of minimal concern, with clinical cases reported rarely. Although OJD continues to spread through parts of the sheep population, the catastrophic losses in flocks occurring prior to the introduction of vaccination are now uncommon. Change-management factors relevant to the improvements in both prevalence and producer concerns for CLA and OJD were examined, including drivers and motivation for change, resistance to change, knowledge management, farming system dimensions and leadership. Although extension programs addressing disease risk factors are likely to be of relevance to improved knowledge and attitudes towards disease risk management of producers, improvements in disease-control practices were considered largely attributable to the introduction of vaccination programs for CLA in 1983 and OJD in 2002. Inclusion of the CLA antigen within clostridial vaccines (“6 in 1” vaccine) enabled routine annual CLA vaccination to occur in an increasing proportion of the national flock, with estimates of CLA prevalence suggesting a decline from 26% in 1995 to 5.2% in 2009. Encouraging the routine vaccination of lambs for OJD (Gudair vaccine) in infected flocks to reduce or avoid losses significantly reduced the within-flock prevaccination–postvaccination median prevalence from 2.72% to 0.72%, based on estimated shedding rates of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis determined by pooled fecal culture in 37 infected flocks vaccinating for at least 5 years. Although persistent use of CLA vaccine is a convenient intervention for producers, promoting the persistent use of OJD vaccination to continue disease suppression when clinical cases are undetectable, plus improvements in biosecurity, remain a challenge for animal-health authorities. Despite concerns of vaccine efficacy and safety issues with OJD vaccination, persistent vaccination has produced a profound improvement in the health of Australian sheep, and is a positive development of relevance to sheep production in other countries.

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          Most cited references 23

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          Crohn's disease and the mycobacterioses: a quarter century later. Causation or simple association?

          It has been more than 25 years since Mycobacterium paratuberculosis was first proposed as an etiologic agent in Crohn's disease based on the isolation of this organism from several patients. Since that time, a great deal of information has been accumulated that clearly establishes an association between M. paratuberculosis and Crohn's disease. However, data are conflicting and difficult to interpret and the field has become divided into committed advocates and confirmed skeptics. This review is an attempt to provide a thorough and objective summary of current knowledge from both basic and clinical research from the views and interpretations of both the antagonists and proponents. The reader is left to draw his or her own conclusions related to the validity of the issues and claims made by the opposing views and data interpretations. Whether M. paratuberculosis is a causative agent in some cases or simply represents an incidental association remains a controversial topic, but current evidence suggests that the notion should not be so readily dismissed. Remaining questions that need to be addressed in defining the role of M. paratuberculosis in Crohn's disease and future implications are discussed.
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            In utero infection of cattle with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis: a critical review and meta-analysis.

            Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Mptb) causes Johne's disease in ruminants. Disease control programmes aim to break the faecal-oral cow-calf transmission cycle through hygienic calf rearing and removal of affected cows from the herd, but these programmes do not take account of the potential for congenital infection. The aims of this study were to critically review research on in utero infection, determine the prevalence of fetal infection in cattle through meta-analysis and estimate the incidence of calves infected via the in utero route. About 9% (95% confidence limits 6-14%) of fetuses from subclinically infected cows and 39% (20-60%) from clinically affected cows were infected with Mptb (P<0.001). These are underestimates for methodological reasons. The estimated incidence of calf infection derived via the in utero route depends on within-herd prevalence and the ratio of sub-clinical to clinical cases among infected cows. Assuming 80:20 for the latter, estimates of incidence were in the range 0.44-1.2 infected calves per 100 cows per annum in herds with within-herd prevalence of 5%, and 3.5-9.3 calves in herds with 40% prevalence. These estimates were not markedly sensitive to the value chosen for the proportion of clinical cases. In utero transmission of Mptb could retard the success of disease control programmes if the opportunities for post natal transmission via colostrum/milk and environmental contamination were able to be controlled. The consequences of fetal infection for the calves so infected are discussed in the context of diagnosis and vaccination together with recommendations for future research.
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              Prevalence of caseous lymphadenitis and usage of caseous lymphadenitis vaccines in sheep flocks.

               M Paton,  S B Walker,  I Rose (2016)
              To estimate the prevalence of caseous lymphadenitis (CLA), determine the current usage of vaccines against CLA and to measure the effectiveness of these vaccines on sheep farms. A survey was undertaken on 223 sheep flocks in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. The prevalence of CLA was measured by conventional inspection techniques at abattoirs in lines of sheep that could be traced back to a farm. Managers of the flocks were sent a questionnaire about their vaccine practices, management practices and knowledge of CLA. The average prevalence of CLA in adult sheep in these flocks was 26% and varied from 20% in Western Australia to 29% in New South Wales. About 43% of sheep producers used CLA vaccines; only 12% used them as recommended. Awareness of CLA was highest in Western Australia. More producers would use CLA vaccine if they knew the prevalence of CLA in their flock and producers obtained most information about CLA from vaccine resellers. Only 10 to 15% of producers are currently achieving effective CLA control through the use of recommended CLA vaccination programs. In Western Australian flocks more than 25% of effectively vaccinated ewes will be sent to abattoirs in the 2 to 3 years after this study. However, large decreases in the prevalence of CLA can be achieved by about 70% of producers by either making adjustments to their vaccination programs or buying a vaccine with a CLA component. Two or three key facts on effective CLA vaccination could be made available at the point of sale of vaccines and from abattoirs that reported the prevalence of CLA to farmers.

                Author and article information

                Vet Med (Auckl)
                Vet Med (Auckl)
                Veterinary Medicine : Research and Reports
                24 March 2014
                : 5
                : 11-22
                Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney , Camden, NSW, Australia
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Peter A Windsor Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney , 410 Werombi Road, Camden, NSW 2570, Australia Tel +61 2 9351 1610 Fax +61 2 9351 1618 Email peter.windsor@
                © 2014 Windsor

                This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. The full terms of the License are available at Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. Permissions beyond the scope of the License are administered by Dove Medical Press Limited. Information on how to request permission may be found at:

                Page count
                Tables: 1, References: 38, Pages: 12


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