Ovine Johne's disease, a chronic, incurable bacterial disease of sheep, was detected in Western Australia this week, but should not affect its "free zone" status.
Victorian ministerial OJD advisory committee chairman Frank Tobin said while low levels of infection may exist, it could take years to detect. Tobin added that the industry should not overreact after a West Australian property was quarantined following the discovery of several sheep suffering from OJD.
"It's very easy to lose producer support if you overreact and we shouldn't presume this is any more than it is," he said. "It won't alter Victoria's view of Western Australia and that is, that they have a low level of infection. What we'll be keen to see is the follow-up and the flow-on effects."
The WA Department of Agriculture chief veterinary officer Peter Buckman said the outbreak in the state's central region would be investigated.
Western Australia is the only state recognized under national rules as an OJD "free zone" and is expected to maintain that status.