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Detection of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in tie-stall dairy herds using a standardized environmental sampling technique and targeted pooled samples

Arango-Sabogal et al. 2016. Detection of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in tie-stall dairy herds using a standardized environmental sampling technique and targeted pooled samples. Can J Vet Res 80(3):175-182.

Abstract

Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the etiologic agent of Johne’s disease, a chronic contagious enteritis of ruminants that causes major economic losses. Several studies, most involving large free-stall herds, have found environmental sampling to be a suitable method for detecting MAP-infected herds. In eastern Canada, where small tie-stall herds are predominant, certain conditions and management practices may influence the survival and transmission of MAP and recovery (isolation). Our objective was to estimate the performance of a standardized environmental and targeted pooled sampling technique for the detection of MAP-infected tie-stall dairy herds. Twenty-four farms (19 MAP-infected and 5 non-infected) were enrolled, but only 20 were visited twice in the same year, to collect 7 environmental samples and 2 pooled samples (sick cows and cows with poor body condition). Concurrent individual sampling of all adult cows in the herds was also carried out. Isolation of MAP was achieved using the MGIT Para TB culture media and the BACTEC 960 detection system. Overall, MAP was isolated in 7% of the environmental cultures. The sensitivity of the environmental culture was 44% [95% confidence interval (CI): 20% to 70%] when combining results from 2 different herd visits and 32% (95% CI: 13% to 57%) when results from only 1 random herd visit were used. The best sampling strategy was to combine samples from the manure pit, gutter, sick cows, and cows with poor body condition. The standardized environmental sampling technique and the targeted pooled samples presented in this study is an alternative sampling strategy to costly individual cultures for detecting MAP-infected tie-stall dairies. Repeated samplings may improve the detection of MAP-infected herds.

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