Johne's disease: reliability of environmental sampling to characterize Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) infection in beef cow-calf herds

  • Epidemiology and Infection, April 2016, Cambridge University Press
  • DOI: 10.1017/s0950268816000650

Johne's disease: Reliability of environmental sampling to identify MAP-positive cow-calf herds.

What is it about?

Johne's disease is chronic Enteritis mainly in ruminants caused by Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP). This study evaluates the reliability of environmental sampling in beef cow-calf herds in order to identify MAP-positive herds. We have shown for the first time that applying this approach to beef cow-calf herds can be similar effective as in dairy herds and that the within-herd prevalence of MAP-shedders influences the herd-level diagnostic sensitivity.

Why is it important?

A zoonotic potential of MAP-infection is discussed. Herds with a high percentage of MAP shedders account for the highest risk of MAP shedding into the environment and the food chain. It is important to identify these herds in order to implement control measures. Currently, identification of MAP-positive herds is hampered by the lack of affordable, sufficiently sensitive and reliable diagnostic approaches at herd level. Our study was performed in well characterized cow-calf herds with either a low or a high level of the within-herd prevalence of MAP-shedders known from concurrent individual faecal culture testing, and provides valid Information regarding the performance of the diagnostic approach.


Karsten Donat
Thuringian Animal Health Fund

The control of paratuberculosis will be an important challenge in the near future. Our results are important for decision makers concerning the implementation of control strategies as well as for cattle farmers to get first information about the MAP-status of their herd or the herd of their animal trade partner. Purchasing cattle only from herds with a negative herd-status would prevent the introduction of MAP into the own herd. The results of the study concern epidemiology, prevention and control of paratuberculosis in cattle herds.

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The following have contributed to this page: Karsten Donat