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New Test for Johne's Disease in Dairy Products

02 January 2009

USA - GeneThera, Inc. will begin testing of raw and processed milk and dairy products using its Real Time PCR test for Johne's disease, the disease linked to IBS and Crohn's disease in humans.

USA - GeneThera, Inc. will begin testing of raw and processed milk and dairy products using its Real Time PCR test for Johne's disease, the disease linked to IBS and Crohn's disease in humans.

GeneThera is set to begin offering its Johne's disease testing service at its laboratory in Wheat Ridge, Colorado as soon as January 2009 and says it will add testing of milk and other dairy products due to the overwhelming evidence linking Johne's disease in cattle to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn's disease in humans.

According to GeneThera Chairman, Dr Tony Milici, MD, PhD, "GeneThera specializes in diagnostic assays and vaccines for what we call 'Crossover Diseases'. These are diseases that are typically found in cattle, but create a significant risk to humans that consume them. Some other examples would be E. coli, and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, otherwise known as Mad Cow Disease. We feel that not enough is being done by the USDA to properly protect the American consumer from these harmful pathogens."

According to the VA Medical Center in Bronx, New York, "Although Crohn's disease is considered to be autoimmune in origin, there is increasing evidence that it may have an infectious cause. The most plausible candidate is Mycobacterium avium, sub-species paratuberculosis (MAP)."

In an article reviewed by About.com's Medical Review Board titled "Know What's In Your Milk?," it is reported that the bacteria causing Johne's is shed by the infected cow into her milk. The current pasteurization method is based on High Temperature, Short Time (HTST). This means that the milk is heated to 72°C (162°F) for 15 seconds. The time period of 15 seconds has been shown to be insufficient to kill all of the paratuberculosis bacteria. As a result, paratuberculosis could live through the pasteurization process and be in cartons of milk on grocery store shelves. In fact, researchers found that up to 25% of milk on store shelves in central and southern England contained paratuberculosis DNA.

A paper published by the Journal of Clinical Microbiology in December 2007 stated, "Mucosal biopsy specimens from the ileum and the ascending and descending colon were obtained from patients with irritable bowel syndrome attending the University of Sassari, Sassari, Sardinia, Italy. Crohn's disease and healthy control groups were also included. Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis was detected in 15 of 20 (75%) patients with irritable bowel syndrome, 3 of 20 (15%) healthy controls, and 20 of 23 (87%) people with Crohn's disease."

The paper concluded by saying, "Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis is a candidate pathogen in the causation of a proportion of cases of irritable bowel syndrome as well as in Crohn's disease."

Currently, there are no regulations requiring the disposal of milk found to contain Mycobacterium Paratuberculosis. If milk tested on the farm or at a processing plant is found to contain the bacteria, it is still processed and delivered to stores.

The company states that its test is much more accurate and timely than what is commonly available today and results are typically available within 24-48 hours of receipt of the samples.

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