Protective effect of Johne’s disease attenuated vaccine in an intensive non-tuberculosis free dairy

Document Type : Full paper (Original article)


1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Veterinary Organization, Ministry of Jihad-e-Agriculture, Tehran, Iran

3 Veterinary Medicine Head Office, Mashhad, Iran

4 Private Section Veterinarian, Mashhad, Iran

5 Private Section Veterinarian, Tehran, Iran


This study was carried out to control Johne’s disease (JD) without interfering with tuberculosis (TB)
control programme. A dairy herd (n>1500 heads) was used over a period of 6 years, from 1994 to 1999 for
this investigation. The herd had a history of heavy infection with Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis
(MAP) with culling rates of 1.5 and 5%, in 1991 and 1995, respectively. The mean annual losses due to the
reduction in milk yield, pregnancy rate and carcass weight was about $32000. In addition, the farm has had
positive tuberculin test. During this study, 2070 calves within 31 days of age, were inoculated once
subcutaneously, with MERIAL JD attenuated vaccine, in the middle of brisket region. The vaccine protected
the herd against JD effectively, so that from 1995 up to the end of 1999, the means of JD culling among 2-
year-old vaccinated and unvaccinated cattle were 0.52 and 19.4%, respectively. This vaccination had no sideeffects on TB control programme that was conducted by the comparative tuberculin test. In the site of
inoculation, fibrocaseous inflammation, while increasing in size, was developed. During 2 years, in the
majority of animals, this reaction disappeared; only in less than 1.5% of instances the lesion became tumoral and permanent. These animals had no clinical abnormality. While inoculating the vaccine, the insertion of vaccine germ contaminated needles in fingers of vaccinators usually caused temporary, hard and painful inflammation. In one occasion, a progressive granuloma caused by vaccine germ was diagnosed
histopathologically and treated with suitable antibiotics.