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Risk factors for Johne's disease in Scotland - the results of a survey of farmers
  1. M. J. Daniels, BSc, PhD1,
  2. M. R. Hutchings, BSc, MSc, PhD1,
  3. D. J. Allcroft, BSc, MSc2,
  4. I. J. McKendrick, BSc, PhD2 and
  5. A. Greig, BVM&S, FRCVS3
  1. 1 Animal Nutrition and Health Department, Scottish Agricultural College, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG
  2. 2 Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland, The King's Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JZ
  3. 3 Veterinary Science Division, Scottish Agricultural College, Cleeve Gardens, Oakbank Road, Perth PHI 1HF
  1. Animal Nutrition and Health Department, Scottish Agricultural College, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG


The reported incidence of Johne's disease has been increasing in the east of Scotland since 1993. A postal questionnaire survey was sent to 127 farms to identify potential risk factors for Johne's disease in relation to wildlife and farm management practices, and 86 returns were obtained. Of 22 farms which had been assumed to be free of the disease, on the basis of information held by local veterinary centres, seven (32 per cent) reported cases of Johne's disease in the 1990s, indicating that the disease is under-reported. Logistic regression analyses showed that eight of 63 potentially explanatory variables were significant at the 5 per cent level in affecting the likelihood of farms reporting Johne's disease. Of these, large numbers of livestock and rabbits, and access of wildlife to feed stores were the clearest and most consistent risk factors associated with the disease. The application of manure to grazing pasture, the type of water supply for the cattle and the numbers of crows were also related to the presence of Johne's disease but the nature of these relationships was less clear. Only 38 per cent of the farms reported taking any control measures to combat Johne's disease, but three of the control measures were relevant to risk factors identified as significant by the survey, namely maintaining a clean water supply, controlling rabbits and not spreading manure on to grazing pasture.

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