DairyLink to Body ContentLink to Site Map
Select Area of Interest

Choose topic:
Herd/Flock Management
Laws & Regulations
True Cases & Stories
Gallery Graphics
Testing Services
General Information
Biology of Ml. Paratuberculosis
Antimicrobial Therapy
Zoonotic Potential
Test Your Knowledge
Sponsors & Credits
Ask the Expert
Site Map
Search the Site

JOHNE'S INFORMATION CENTER - University of Wisconsin Ñ School of Veterinary Medicine
University of Wisconsin - School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of Wisconsin - School of Veterinary Medicine
At a Glance

Certification programs coupled with regulations are the cattle industry's best defense against the spread of Johne's disease.



Header: overview

State and/or national rules and regulations regarding Johne’s disease are established to help control this infectious disease. They are detailed, technical, unique to each state or country, and subject to change without notice. This page gives the rationale and general description of some regulations and leads the reader to more specific sources of information.

Table Bottom

Regulations on cattle with Johne’s disease are generally designed to help control the infection and help protect buyers of cattle as well as the cattle herds in the states or countries in which the buyer / importer lives. Regulations can originate from the dairy industry itself (self-regulation) or from governmental bodies. There are at least four situations where regulations can help to slow the spread of Johne’s disease:

1.  Reporting and identification of infected or test-positive animals.
2.  Disclosure of information at the time of animal transfer between owners.
3.  Movement control of animals between/within countries or between states or regions.
4.  Classification of herds as to their infection status or likelihood of NOT being infected.

(Herd classification is dealt with separately under the "certification" topic in this website.

Regulations are changing at an accelerating pace and it can be frustrating trying to find out what the rules are. For sources of information on the latest regulations herd owners should ask their herd veterinarian. Veterinarians should stay informed about rules and regulations and ask the chief veterinary officer for their state or country (commonly called the State Veterinarian in the U.S.) when in doubt. The Internet is a good source for the latest rules and regulations, but do not hesitate to call the veterinary official in charge when you have questions. While websites are useful to get updated information, sometimes a phone call works even better. Websites generally give the phone and fax numbers of the veterinary official in charge for each state or country.


Websites of particular value are:

For international rules:

For interstate rules within the U.S.:


One last thought:
If you do not like the rules for your state or country, contact the veterinary official in charge and participate in the process of changing the rules. In the U.S., 31 states have Johne’s disease advisory committees and several more states are creating them. These committees, made up largely of producers and veterinarians, are supposed to help the chief veterinary officer create and implement rules and regulations concerning Johne’s disease that are beneficial to the industry at large. Remember that there are multiple perspectives on rules concerning Johne’s disease: cattle sellers will feel very differently from cattle buyers, and states or countries with little or no Johne’s disease will have a different perspective from those that have significant infection rates. The over-riding intention of rules and regulations about Johne’s disease is to prevent, as best possible, the spread of this infection.

Back to Top


Heading: Reporting

Certain infectious diseases of animals are "reportable." This generally means that the veterinarian who makes a diagnosis of a reportable disease is obligated by law to inform the appropriate veterinary official for his/her state or country of the diagnosis. Examples of well-known reportable cattle diseases are tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis, and brucellosis, caused by Brucella abortus and also known as Bang’s disease. Sometimes a disease diagnosis obtained by one method is reportable while diagnosis by another method is not. As an example, sometimes diagnosis of Johne’s disease by fecal culture is reportable while diagnosis by ELISA is not. Also, if the veterinarian uses a state diagnostic laboratory for disease testing, the results are automatically reported to that state’s chief veterinary medical officer fulfilling the veterinarian’s reporting requirement if he/she resides in the same state. Most private testing laboratories do not do this.

The value of making Johne’s disease reportable is a hotly debated topic. Some believe that reporting enhances the ability of regulatory veterinarians to control this disease because they can monitor which herds are infected and observe changes in disease prevalence over time. Others think reporting impairs Johne’s disease control because of a stigma it places on infected herds. This latter concern is directly related to the public accessibility of governmental records listing infected herds, and this too varies among countries and among states within the U.S. In the U.S., at last count, 13 states had Johne’s disease listed as a reportable disease by at least one diagnostic method. At least one state, Wisconsin, has made the state’s Johne’s disease testing records confidential (exempt from the open records law) in an effort to encourage more testing by herd owners.

Back to Top


Heading:  Disclosure

Disclosure of the Johne’s disease status of individual cattle or the herd from which they originate is not universally or explicitly required. Laws governing this are not necessarily limited to animal health regulations. In some states, regulations concerning general commerce are applicable. In some U.S. states, laws such as the Uniform Commercial Code may apply to sale of cattle. In other states, cattle sales are sold strictly on a "buyer beware" basis. Sellers of cattle should become well-informed as to the laws and regulations that apply to sales to avoid liability for sale of infected animals. For stories of problems resulting from the sale of cattle or other animals with Johne's disease see the "True cases and stories" section of this site.

In the U.S., Wisconsin has attempted to require that sellers of cattle explicitly disclose the Johne’s disease status of their herd when selling animals. This law, called the Implied Warranty Law, is designed to 1) protect buyers by insuring they have the information needed to make an informed judgement as to the risk of buying an M. paratuberculosis-infected dairy replacement, and 2) to slow the spread of this infectious disease for the general benefit of the cattle industry of the state.

The Implied Warranty Law essentially requires that sellers provide to the buyers information as to the percentage of their herd that is infected (test-positive), based on testing done within the previous 12 months. Details can be found in a brochure in the Articles section of this website.

WI Johnes Rules 7-00 Line
PDF Download IconLink Laws and Regulations articles.


Risks of buying infected cattle based on the test status of herds are described in the "Prevention" section under dairy cattle.

Back to Top


Heading:  Movement

Trade of cattle, embryos and semen among herds, states and countries is common practice. With animal or germ plasm trade comes a risk of infectious disease transmission. Regulations are designed to limit this risk. Internationally, the O.I.E. (Office International des Epizooties), an agency of the World Health Organization, is responsible for collecting and reporting data on the prevalence of infectious animal diseases by country and for standardizing methods for disease diagnosis, among other functions. There are 155 member countries of O.I.E. A visit to their website is highly recommended.

OIE maintains two lists of important diseases of animals: List A diseases are defined as: "Transmissible diseases that have the potential for very serious and rapid spread, irrespective of national borders, that are of serious socio-economic or public health consequence and that are of major importance in the international trade of animals and animal products." Foot-and-Mouth disease is an example of a List A disease. List B diseases are: "Transmissible diseases that are considered to be of socio-economic and/or public health importance within countries and that are significant in the international trade of animals and animal products." Johne’s disease (paratuberculosis) is a List B disease. The O.I.E. manual regarding Johne’s disease diagnostics and vaccines (Chapter 3.1.6 of the 1996 edition) is found at: http://www.oie.int/eng/normes/MMANUAL/A_00040.htm

Rules governing what tests for Johne’s disease are required for importation of cattle or germ plasm (embryos and semen) are set by the importing country. The importing country should be contacted before shipment to get the most up-to-date testing requirements. A useful website for finding this information is:

Rules regarding Johne’s disease testing requirements for movement of cattle within different countries are too numerous to be maintained on this website. However, for examples of Johne’s disease regulations governing animal movement within Australia, visitors should go the website of Animal Health Australia. And, for general information concerning Johne’s disease regulations within the U.S. visitors should go to the website of the USDA-APHIS-VS.

Rules about paratuberculosis governing inter-state movement of cattle are found in the Code of Federal Regulations 9CFR parts 80 and 71 concerning Johne’s disease. Proposed changes to the CFR parts 80 and 71 were published for comment on March 22, 1999. The comment period closed May 21, 1999. These changes became effective May 10, 2000. Key provisions include: 1) cattle that test positive for Johne's disease by an organism detection based test, such as fecal culture-positive, be moved interstate to slaughter only, and 2) such animals must move on an owner/shipper statement. The changes define an official test as an organism detection based test to include fecal culture and genetic probes (PCR methods). Click on the icon below to download the full text 9 CFR Parts 71 and 80 "Johne’s disease in domestic animals; Interstate movement"

PDF Download IconDownload the 5
page article here.


Back to Top


Heading:  Classification of herds

This is covered on a separate page:

HomeLineBack to Top