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JOHNE'S INFORMATION CENTER - University of Wisconsin Ñ School of Veterinary Medicine
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Tuesday, June 26, 2018
MAP & T1DM: Coincidence or Causality

Background: In 2006 Dr. Tom Dow hypothesized that MAP, the cause of Johne's disease, in cow’s milk could act as a trigger for Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) – see the journal Medical Hypotheses 67:782-785, 2006. In 2008, a research group led by Dr. Leonardo A. Sechi demonstrated that T1DM patients have serum antibodies to MAP more often that do T2DM patients or healthy controls (Clinical Vaccine and Immunology, 15:320-326, 2008). In 2011, Dr Sechi’s research team described a mechanism whereby antibodies directed against a specific MAP protein (MAP3865c) cross-react with a key pancreatic beta-cell antigen in T1DM patients (ZnT8) (PLoS ONE 6:e26931), a process called molecular mimicry. This idea opened new avenues for understanding the interplay of human genetics and MAP exposure regarding T1DM immunopathology.

News: This week, at the American Diabetes Association meeting, British researchers reported that vaccination of T1DM patients with BCG (a vaccine against tuberculosis) showed significant clinical improvement.

Comment: Although highly speculative, this data provides additional intriguing evidence supporting Dr. Dow’s novel hypothesis that MAP may be the trigger for T1DM and that vaccination against MAP could offer hope of a cure. If so, then elimination of MAP in the food supply could potentially prevent T1DM.

Footnote: The postulated MAP/T1DM association was first presented at the 2005 IAP meeting in Copenhagen. You can join the IAP and access such new ideas and the world's leading paratuberculosis researchers for only $50/year.

News story on MEDPAGE TODAY


Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Highlights from the 14th ICP

June 4-8, 2018, Mexico hosted the 14th Colloquium of the International Association for Paratuberculosis (14-ICP) in the Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo. Abstracts of the meeting are available to all IAP members (191 pages). They will be publicly available later on the IAP website. You can join the IAP for only US$50. This news posting offers some selected highlights of general interest.

  • Some cattle can recover from a MAP infection.(abstract 1.3)

  • U.S. researchers reported that cattle, sheep and goats respond similarly to MAP infection but experimental infection of calves proved to be the most standardized model for research.(abstract 1.7)

  • In a New Zealand dairy herd, selective culling of MAP-shedder animals resulted in control of infectious spread and a dramatic increase in animal health and production within one year.(abstract 1.11)

  • A study of Irish dairy herds found that season, milk yield and somatic cell counts can affect milk ELISA results.(poster 1.1)

  • Paratuberculosis was confirmed in a scimitar-horned oryx in Mexico.(poster 1.22)

  • Paratuberculosis affects 23% of 115 buffalo tested in Brazil.(poster 2.48)

  • 50% of 44 wild deer in Colombia tested positive for antibody to MAP using a commercial ELISA kit.(poster 2.58)

  • In western India, high rates of ELISA-positivity were found in cattle (88.1%), sheep (51.4%), buffalo (33.3%), and goats (33%), rates that were far higher than for brucellosis.(poster 2.61)

  • Natural transmission of paratuberculosis from a goat to a pot-bellied pig in the U.S. was reported.(poster 3.72)

  • MAP was cultured from skeletal muscle (meat) of 34% of 143 cattle with clinical signs of paratuberculosis in a German abattoir study.(poster 4.74)

  • In Brazil, 17% of 258 Crohn’s patients tested PCR-positive for MAP in intestinal biopsy specimens collected at colonoscopy using two MAP-specific genetic targets plus an internal control.(poster 4.78)

  • A Canadian survey found the estimated true herd-level prevalence of paratuberculosis in dairy herds to be 67% in Western Canada, 58% in Ontario, 22% in Quebec, and 41% in the Atlantic Provinces.(Merkal Award presentation on page 157 of the abstracts).
  • IAP website


    Thursday, May 17, 2018
    Johne's disease control: a challenging yet achievable goal.

    This commentary summarizes the article by Gavin et al. regarding successful eradication of Johne’s disease from a goat herd, mentioned previously on this website. The author, Sam Strain, highlights these key strategies:

    Biosecurity Reducing the risk of infection introduction Avoid animal introductions; if introducing animals, ensure the vendor herd has a high Johne’s disease health status; and avoid the introduction of faeces from adults or faecal contaminated materials.

    Biocontainment: Reducing the risk of infection spread within the infected herd Identify and remove all ‘high risk’ animals from maternity and young stock areas; ensure colostrum/milk from positive animals is not fed to animals that will be retained for breeding purposes; ensure excellent hygiene standards in maternity areas; prevent cross suckling or consumption of colostrum/milk from multiple dams; and as far as possible keep young stock separate from all adult animals and their faeces.

    Testing: Use tests as a management tool to identify higher risk animals; test all adult animals by ELISA (blood or milk), poor sensitivity can, to some extent, be overcome by repeated testing (in general, higher ELISA readings are suggestive of higher risk animals); ELISA test specificity of 98 to 99 per cent will mean that false-positive results will occur; cull or manage high risk animals to avoid infection transmission to young livestock; faecal culture or PCR are useful ancillary tests to confirm infection and to identify higher shedding animals. Animals living in an infected environment can ingest Map or Map DNA without becoming infected – this ‘pass-through’ can be detected in faeces; therefore, care should be exercised in interpreting faecal test results in the absence of ELISA testing.

    Comment: In the experience of the author of this website, PCR on fecal samples is superior to ELISA on blood samples, provided the herd infection rate is low. And for herd surveillance, when the infection rate is very low or zero, PCR on fecal samples pooled by age (5/pool) at the testing laboratory is the most cost-effective diagnostic tool.

    Two page commentary in Veterinary Record


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