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Rev Argent Microbiol. 2007 Jan-Mar;39(1):57-68.

[Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in food and its relationship with Crohn's disease].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

  • 1INTA Balcarce, Laboratorio de Bacteriolog√≠a, Unidad Integrada Balcarce INTA, Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, RN 226, Km 73,5 (7620) Balcarce, Argentina.


Paratuberculosis or Johne's disease is a chronic enteritis of the cattle and other small ruminant animals caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis. In Argentina, the strains were characterized in beef and dairy cattle and deer in different genetic patterns by molecular tools. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis has been linked in men to a chronic inflammation of the intestine, named Crohn's disease. There is clinical and experimental evidence to link M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis with Crohn's disease by PCR, positive bacteriological culture from mother milk, blood and affected tissues by in situ hybridization. The milk and sub-products might be one of the possible infection sources and it has been suggested that M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis could resist pasteurization. Several works showed that this mycobacteria could be present in retail milk of countries such as United Kingdom, USA, Czech Republic, and recently in Argentina. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis was associated with different dairy products and water for human consumption. Therefore, it is possible that these food sources may have a role for transmission. New investigations should emphasize the role of contaminated food and water in human infection around the world and determine the possible zoonotic role of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis.

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