Submitted to: UJNR Food & Agricultural Panel Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 4, 2005
Publication Date: September 20, 2005
Citation: Stabel, J.R., Bannantine, J.P., Paustian, M., Robbe Austerman, S. 2005. A Multi-facted Approach to Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis Research in the Agricultural Research Service [abstract]. UJNR Food & Agricultural Panel Abstracts. p. 15. Technical Abstract: Paratuberculosis (Johne's disease) is a chronic, progressive enteric disease of ruminants caused by infection with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis. Economic losses are estimated to be $200/infected cow/year and are the result of animal culling, reduced milk production, poor reproductive performance, and reduced carcass value. Johne's disease has become a high priority disease in the cattle industry. Herd prevalence of Johne's disease is estimated to be 22-40% as determined by a recent National Animal Health Monitoring Survey of dairy cattle. There are no adequate estimates of herd prevalence in beef cattle in the U.S. The economic impact of this disease on the dairy industry was estimated to be over $200 million per year in 1996 and is growing each year with the continued spread of this disease. In addition, M. paratuberculosis has been implicated as a causative factor in Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of human beings, which has served as a further impetus to control this disease in our national cattle industry. Research on M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis within ARS in the US has involved a multi-pronged approach to reducing the incidence of disease. One major objective in research is to improve diagnostic tests for detection of this disease thereby providing tools for reducing contamination of the environment with M. paratuberculosis and the spread of infection within herds. Another major objective is to conduct research on the pathogenesis and immunology of M. paratuberculosis infections of cattle in order to design more rational diagnostic and control procedures. Further, another major focus is the sequence and annotation of the M. paratuberculosis genome which has lead to identification of specific antigens for M. paratuberculosis. Characterization of these antigens will result in better diagnostic tests to allow early detection of subclinically infected animals and reduce the incidence of disease in herds. In addition, research on the efficacy of pasteurization on the inactivation of M. paratuberculosis in milk has been completed. This work is critical in order to assure the dairy industry that they are providing a clean, safe product to consumers.