Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Genetic diversity of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis and the influence of strain type on infection and pathogenesis: a review.

Abstract

Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (Map) is an important pathogen that causes a chronic, progressive granulomatous enteritis known as Johne's disease or paratuberculosis. The disease is endemic in many parts of the world and responsible for considerable losses to the livestock and associated industries. Diagnosis and control are problematic, due mostly to the long incubation period of the disease when infected animals show no clinical signs and are difficult to detect, and the ability of the organism to survive and persist in the environment. The existence of phenotypically distinct strains of Map has been known since the 1930s but the genetic differentiation of Map strain types has been challenging and only recent technologies have proven sufficiently discriminative for strain comparisons, tracing the sources of infection and epidemiological studies. It is important to understand the differences that exist between Map strains and how they influence both development and transmission of disease. This information is required to develop improved diagnostics and effective vaccines for controlling Johne's disease. Here I review the current classification of Map strain types, the sources of the genetic variability within strains, growth characteristics and epidemiological traits associated with strain type and the influence of strain type on infection and pathogenicity.