University of Wisconsin–Madison

JD Case Report: Tamil Nadu, India

A. Karthikeyan and colleagues report on a case of Johne’s disease in the state of Tamil Nadu, India in the International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Science (volume 9, issue 1, pages 22-64-2267, 2020).


Johne’s disease (Paratuberculosis), a debilitating chronic granulomatous enteritis of domesticated and wild ruminants that causes huge economic and production losses to the dairy farmers. A six-year-old Jersey crossbred cow was presented with a history of chronic diarrhoea, gradual weight loss, reduction in milk yield and poor response to therapy. Based on history, clinical examination, Ziehl-Neelsen staining and IS900 polymerase chain reaction of the faeces the case was diagnosed as Johne’s disease. It warrants strict implementation of control measures to put off further spread Johne’s disease in dairy animals.

Comment: There are more cows in India than in any other country of the world.  Cows have a special place in Indian society making Johne’s disease especially difficult to control in cattle. 

Read more about sacred cows from Wikipedia: In the Hindu tradition, cows are honored, garlanded and given special feedings at festivals all over India. One is the annual Gopastami festival, dedicated to Krishna and cows.

The cow’s nature is represented in Kamadhenu; the goddess who is the mother of all cows. In India, more than 3,000 institutions called Gaushalas care for old and infirm cows. According to animal husbandry statistics there are about 44,900,000 cows in India, the highest in the world. So while some old and infirm cows are treated in Gaushalas, the rest are generally abandoned at public places such as railway stations and bazaars.

Honoring the cow inspires in people the virtues of gentleness and connects them with nature. The cow gives milk and cream, yogurt and cheese, butter and ghee. The milk of a cow is believed to refine a person. The ghee (clarified butter) from the milk is used in ceremonies and in preparing religious food. Cow dung is used as fertilizer, as a fuel and as a disinfectant in homes.

The 16th International Colloquium on Paratuberculosis will be held at Amity University Rajasthan, Jaipur, India, October 17-21, 2022.