The distribution of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis in the environment surrounding Minnesota dairy farms

J Dairy Sci. 2004 Sep;87(9):2959-66. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(04)73427-X.


The objective of this study was to characterize the distribution of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (Map) in the environment of infected and uninfected Minnesota dairy farms. Eighty herds known to be infected from Minnesota's Johne's Disease Control Program (JDCP) and 28 herds known to be uninfected from Minnesota Voluntary Johne's Disease Herd Status Program (VJDHSP) were sampled. Fecal samples from up to 100 cows in each herd were cultured in pools of 5 cows. Two environmental samples were obtained from each farm from various locations. All samples were tested using bacterial culture for Map. Eighty percent of the JDCP herds had at least one positive pool. Environmental samples were cultured positive in 78% of the JDCP herds. Two (7%) of the VJDHSP herds had one positive pool, and one herd had one positive environmental sample. Environmental samples were cultured positive in cow alleyways (77% of the herds), manure storage (68%), calving area (21%), sick cow pen (18%), water runoff (6%), and postweaned calves areas (3%). There was an association between maximum level of colonies per tube from cow alleyways and manure storage and fecal pool prevalence. Herds with both areas cultured negative were estimated to have 0.3 to 4% fecal pool prevalence. Herds with both areas having a heavy load of bacteria were estimated to have 53 to 73% fecal pool prevalence. The study results indicate that targeted sampling of cow alleyways and manure storage areas appears to be an alternative strategy for herd screening and Johne's infection status assessment and for estimating herd fecal prevalence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / microbiology*
  • Dairying*
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Minnesota
  • Mycobacterium Infections / microbiology
  • Mycobacterium Infections / veterinary*
  • Mycobacterium avium / isolation & purification*