Johne’s disease, also known as paratuberculosis, is a fatal infectious enteritis caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (Map). The disease predominantly affects ruminants, although it has been reported in rabbits, hares and camelids. Johne’s disease occurs worldwide and is endemic in most European countries, including the UK.
Johne’s disease is a significant welfare issue. Animals in the clinical stages of the disease become progressively emaciated and die. Johne’s disease is responsible for significant financial losses to the livestock industries. The true losses are difficult to quantify as Johne’s disease is so difficult to diagnose but they include decreased productivity, increased wastage of adult animals, increased sensitivity to other diseases, infertility and the cost of diagnosis, monitoring and control programmes. If no control measures are implemented on a farm with affected animals, the problem will only get worse and the losses incurred will increase.
Current interests and future aims:
Moredun is conducting research on Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis within the Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme (2016-2021) looking at developing new diagnostics and a live attenuated vaccine for Johne’s disease. (add link)