An evaluation of mycophage therapy, chemotherapy and vaccination for control of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection

Vet Microbiol. 2004 Dec 9;104(3-4):143-55. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2004.08.014.


The control of ovine Johne's disease (OJD) is important for domestic trade, the viability of farming units and possibly also for public health. Current strategies in Australia have included quarantine and pasture spelling to decrease prevalence and shedding rates and reduce numbers of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis (Mptb) ingested by susceptible sheep. However, alternative procedures are needed and vaccination with Gudair has recently commenced. This review examines prospects for the control of OJD by chemotherapy, vaccination and mycophages. Current chemotherapeutic regimes for treatment of M. paratuberculosis in ruminants are prohibitively expensive and of dubious efficacy, and apart from environmental concerns, mycophage therapy lacks a track record of success against intracellular bacteria. There is substantial evidence that live and killed mycobacterial vaccines reduce the incidence of clinical disease and shedding rates in OJD. An appraisal of recent experimental results suggests that neonatal vaccination with a defined dose of M. paratuberculosis offers the best prospects for the induction of protective Th1-type immunity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Australia
  • Bacterial Vaccines* / administration & dosage
  • Bacterial Vaccines* / immunology
  • Mycobacteriophages*
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis / drug effects
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis / growth & development*
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis / immunology
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis / virology
  • Paratuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Paratuberculosis / prevention & control*
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases / drug therapy
  • Sheep Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Vaccination


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Vaccines