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PARATBTOOLS - Development of Improved Tools for Detection of Paratuberculosis in Livestock, M.Paratuberculosis in Food and for the Assessment of the Risk of Human Exposure

Bakker, Douwe
Central Institute for Animal Disease Control Lelystad, Wageningen UR
Start date
End date
This project seeks to address the serious shortfalls in the current methodology for (early) diagnosis of paratuberculosis, in livestock as well as in humans, for the detection of Mycobacterium avium sub-species paratuberculosis (Map) in food, for the risk-assessment of human exposure via the foodchain to Map and to further investigate the possible role of Map in the aetiology of Crohn's disease.

To be able to address the multifaceted problem of paratuberculosis an EU-led multidisciplinary consortium will be established containing expertise in mycobacteriology, immunology, test-development, molecular biology, genetics.

More information
This project directly addresses Task ( Mycobacterium avium sub-species paratuberculosis (Map) diagnosis and control of the thematic area 5 (Food Quality and Safety). Paratuberculosis, a chronic wasting disease in ruminants, is causing significant production losses to both dairy and meat producers, due to a decreasing milk yield, loss of body weight and early replacements. The absence of adequate diagnostic tools for early detection of sub-clinically infected livestock severely interferes with animal welfare; since affected animals are send to slaughter only when they are in an advanced stage of disease. In addition, animals with sub-clinical disease will suffer additionally from an increased susceptiblity to secondary infections.

The presence of life Map in retail milk in combination with its possible association with Crohn's disease in humans has resulted in consumer concerns, specifically among CD patients in the EU and the US, for quality and safety of milk and dairy products. This potential zoonotic role, the human exposure to map via milk and the fact that this relation cannot be proved or disproved, is reason for great concern.

This latent food safety issue, combined with the economic and welfare impact the disease has on animal husbandry in the EU strengthen the importance of an effective paratuberculosis control.

For more information about this project, please visit the European Commission Food Quality and Safety in Europe Web site.

Funding Source
European Commission
Project number
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Bacterial Pathogens
Chemical Contaminants
Risk Assessment, Management, and Communication