Paratuberculosis control requires a national plan

Managing Sick Animals > Diagnostics > Resource > Paratuberculosis control requires a national plan


Paratuberculosis is a chronic, contagious bacterial disease (caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. Paratuberculosis (MAP)) of the intestinal tract which primarily affects sheep and cattle, goats, and other ruminant species. There is no known treatment for the disease. Control involves good sanitation and management practices including screening tests for new animals to identify and eliminate infected animals and ongoing surveillance of adult animals.

Implementation of regional/national control programmes are successful. They are related to growing industry concerns about the zoonotic potential of MAP, the desire to be proactive in control at both the farmer and processor levels, and/or to meet trade requirements. The interest among processors serves to take a voluntary control and/or status programme and make it mandatory for farmers.

The primary tools used for control across countries range widely, from testing options, on-farm risk assessments, incentive programmes, education and awareness campaigns and vaccination. Successful countries recommend some form of testing; faecal culture or PCR of environmental samples, bulk tank milk ELISA tests, or the use of similar methods at the cow-level. More recent developments and variations exist in the use of a combination of tests (e.g. ELISA followed by direct faecal PCR for confirmation) and/or cut-off values (e.g. test label vs. cut-off for high shedding animals). Many nations supplement these testing schemes with the recommendation to complete a herd-level risk assessment, which can be either specific to the disease or part of general biosecurity risk assessments.