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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1989 May 15;194(10):1423-6.

Bovine fetal infection with Mycobacterium paratuberculosis.

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Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210-1092.


In utero transmission of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, the causative agent of paratuberculosis in cattle, has been suggested. Tissue specimens were obtained at a packing plant from pregnant dairy cows and their fetuses and from cows with clinical signs of paratuberculosis and from their fetuses. Specimens were processed according to methods described for isolating M paratuberculosis from bovine tissues and were incubated on Herrold egg yolk medium for 16 weeks. Presumed positive specimens were confirmed to be M paratuberculosis, using acid-fast staining and subculturing. Of 407 lymph nodes from cows, 34 (8.4%) were culture positive for M paratuberculosis; 9 of 34 (26.4%) of these culture-positive cows had fetuses from which specimens were also culture positive. The results estimated the risk of fetal infection with M paratuberculosis to be 26.4% (95% confidence interval between 11.3 and 40.7%).

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