University of Wisconsin–Madison

The Johne’s vaccine in the U.S. will soon be gone

Excerpt from Hoard’s Dairyman September 10, 2019 issue, “Veterinary Column” (page 544).

Although there are many components to Johne’s control programs on dairy farms, the use of the Johne’s vaccine became important and relied upon for some producers. As such, the relatively recent news that the single manufacturer in the U.S. with federal licensure for vaccine production was no longer producing new vaccine came as a blow.

At this point in time there does not appear to be a replacement product. Similarly, none of the newer technology vaccines coming to market will have obtained federal approval by the time the existing stocks run out.

Veterinarians and producers on farms affected by the loss of vaccination may need to refocus their collective efforts on newborn calf and maternity pen management, manure handling and removal, and possibly some environmental testing and tough culling decisions for high shedding animals.

The Hoard’s Dairyman article is based on this Livestock Health Alert issued by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP).

More background:

The U.S. Johne’s vaccine is called Mycopar™ and was sold by Boehringer-Ingelheim. Multiple academics report progress toward a more effective vaccine for Johne’s disease.

This links you to a 2011 review article about paratuberculosis and the role of vaccination for control.

This links you to a 2016 review article about Johne’s (paratuberculosis) vaccines.

This link takes you to a publication describing the most recent trial of Mycopar™, the only commercial vaccine ever used for Johne’s disease in the U.S.

The Guidair® and Silirum® vaccines (both sold by Zoetis, a sponsor of this website) are used outside the U.S. for protection of sheep and goats.

Comment: Commercialization of new vaccines for Johne’s disease is a high-risk high-reward challenge. Many companies are reluctant to take on this challenge because of the high cost and long time required to prove vaccine efficacy in each target animal species. However, given the significant and rising prevalence of MAP infections in multiple animal species and the likelihood that MAP is a food-borne zoonotic infection with worldwide distribution, there is huge economic potential for sale a truly safe and effective vaccine. Most producers would rather “control Johne’s disease via syringe” rather than do the necessary herd management changes and diagnostic testing.