Thursday 1 July 2021

Some important rule changes to the Johne’s disease risk-level certification programme are planned for 1 October 2021.

These rule changes were previously scheduled for implementation on 1 July 2021, but have been pushed back to allow some of the details behind the rule changes to be agreed.

There are three changes being made to the rules. Previously, blood test positive results for the Map bacteria which causes Johne’s disease could be followed up with confirmatory testing at the discretion of the health scheme.

To increase consistency and efficacy, and reduce variations in results, the new CHECS rules will limit confirmatory testing of blood test positive animals to herds with a seroprevalence of 2 per cent or less (or one animal).

In addition, the new rules will require all laboratories offering a CHECS-licensed cattle health scheme to participate in the same faecal Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) detection ring testing scheme.

The existing CHECS rules also state that blood test positive animals (male or female) will be classified as high-risk animals and they and their offspring must not be sold for breeding. However, the third rule being brought in is that any calf to which that animal has given birth within the 12 months preceding the positive serological result must not be sold for breeding either.

These changes and the science behind them were explained in a webinar held on 21 June, which is available to watch again here.

As explained in the webinar, there are four areas left to resolve around these changes:
• Advice on time recommended to elapse after TB testing: based on new evidence, 42 days has been suggested this but is to be agreed
• Appeals process: to be reviewed and revised to ensure that despite CHECS’s tight resources, those with legitimate anomalies can escalate their case
• Ring test: which single ring test for faecal testing will be used
• Transparency around blood test-positive animals and their offspring: under CHECS rules, these animals must not be sold for breeding – how can buyers check the status of prospective purchases?


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