Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (basonym M. paratuberculosis) is the etiologic agent of a severe gastroenteritis in ruminants known as Johne's disease. Economic losses to the cattle industry in the United States are staggering, reaching $1.5 billion annually. A potential pathogenic role in humans in the etiology of Crohn's disease is under investigation. In this article, we review the epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnostics, and disease control measures of this important veterinary pathogen. We emphasize molecular genetic aspects including the description of markers used for strain identification, diagnotics, and phylogenetic analysis. Recent important advances in the development of animal models and genetic systems to study M. paratuberculosis virulence determinants are also discussed. We conclude with proposals for the applications of these models and recombinant technology to the development of diagnostic, control, and therapeutic measures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases