Document Type


Publication Date



johne's disease, beef herd, cattle

Extension Number

ExEx 11005


Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences


Johne's (pronounced yo-knees) disease is a slowly progressive disease of ruminants, including cattle. All beef producers need to be concerned about Johne's disease. Johne's costs the commercial beef producer through excessive culling, death loss, and suboptimal herd performance. Producers who sell Johne's infected breeding stock have been involved in litigation for selling diseased animals. Johne's is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium paratuberculosis. M. paratuberculosis is slow growing and resistant to all common antibiotics. In contrast to most common bacteria, the Johne's organism persists in the environment for long periods of time, especially in areas associated with water. The organism survives for nine months in manure slurry, 11 months in soil and 17 months in water. Direct sunlight for 100 hours or boiling for two minutes can kill the organism.