Veterinary Research Institute
Why is paratuberculosis control important?
The bacterium Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) causes Johne’s disease, also known as paratuberculosis. Paratuberculosis causes significant economic losses in cattle and ruminants herds and can have a severe impact on the health of these animals. Coinfection with paratuberculosis is also a significant issue that can compound the illness and economic losses. Identifying the level of paratuberculosis in your herd is the starting point, and diagnostic tools are key to this process. Eradication of paratuberculosis is unlikely, so producers should learn how to monitor and control the disease with the goal of keeping levels very low in the herd.
How do I detect paratuberculosis in my herd?
Several tests are available for the detection of paratuberculosis. Each method measures different aspects of the disease. An ELISA test is designed to measure the immune reaction of the animal after a paratuberculosis infection, and this antibody response does not occur until weeks after the infection.
PCR and culture, on the other hand, are direct methods that detect the bacterium itself. Culture requires a long incubation time but is still regarded as the “gold standard” in paratuberculosis detection. With qPCR, however, sensitivity of detection is extremely high, even higher than with culture. All of the different test results can be confusing, therefore it is necessary to set interpretation rules of test data, and there is no consensus on this yet.
To watch a video interview with Dr. Kralik, click here.