Australia is a global leader in Johne’s disease control. They have developed control programs for a range of ruminant species and done some of the finest epidemiological research. They were the first to develop an ELISA kit for Johne’s disease, among many other firsts in the science of paratuberculosis.
Not surprisingly, Australia is now the first to systematically assess the perceptions of veterinarians regarding the zoonotic potential of MAP. This study was reported by members of the Sydney School of Veterinary Science, Faculty of Science, The University of Sydney in the Open Access journal Veterinary Sciences. They found that almost one-third of the respondents (32.2%) considered that MAP was likely to be involved in the causation of Crohn’s disease whereas more than two-thirds (69.8%) agreed with the adoption of the precautionary principle against Johne’s disease.
Public concerns over exposure to Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) or MAP components via foods of animal origin could have negative trade consequences, despite the absence of conclusive scientific evidence of a causal association between MAP and Crohn’s disease (CD).
This study was conducted among Australian veterinarians to understand (a) their perceptions regarding the role of MAP in the causation of CD (an ordinal outcome), and (b) their consideration of the adoption of the precautionary principle against Johne’s disease (JD; a binary outcome). Ordinal and binary logistic regression analyses were performed to evaluate the association of explanatory variables with the above outcomes, respectively.
Almost one-third of the respondents (32.2%) considered that MAP was likely to be involved in the causation of CD whereas more than two-thirds (69.8%) agreed with the adoption of the precautionary principle against JD. Veterinarians who were concerned about exposure to and/or getting infected with MAP were more likely to consider MAP as a causative agent of CD (odds ratio: 7.63; 95% CI: 1.55, 37.63) and favor the adoption of the precautionary principle against JD (odds ratio: 6.20; 95% CI: 1.90, 20.25). Those perceiving MAP as a causative agent of CD were also more likely to favor the adoption of the precautionary principle against JD (odds ratio: 13.2; 95% CI: 1.26, 138.90).
The results suggest that Australian veterinarians, particularly those who consider MAP as a causative agent of CD are concerned about exposure to MAP and favor the adoption of the precautionary principle against JD. These findings can be useful for animal health authorities for designing JD control programs and policies.
Comments: This is the first formal survey of veterinary practitioners regarding the MAP zoonosis question. The article does an exceptional job of analyzing the data and underlying associations. Such as year of graduation, gender, and prior diagnosis of JD, related to veterinary opinions. I urge you to read the full Open Access article.