Paratuberculosis, also known as Johne’s disease, is a chronic enteritis that affects ruminants and is caused by the subspecies paratuberculosis of the bacterium Mycobacterium avium. It is endemic worldwide and primarily affects both beef and dairy cattle.
Paratuberculosis is a silent disease with long incubation periods, up to 5 years. During the subclinical stage, although the symptoms are not visible, the disease can be spread to other animals. The risk of transmission is higher in intensive production systems.
Through contaminated food, soil, water, milk and colostrum infected with the bacteria.
Happens in almost 40% of cows in subclinical stage.
Cattle and other ruminants of under 6 months of age run the greatest risk of paratuberculosis infection.
- Introduction of replacement animals without prior sanitary checks, especially from herds with unknown paratuberculosis status
- Young animals in contact with feces from other animals or contaminated soil
- Contamination of water sources and food with feces
- Contamination of calves by feces on udders
- Poor equipment hygiene
Paratuberculosis is mainly a subclinical infection. However, clinical signs may appear in some cases and they are determined by several factors, such as infective dose, animal age, stress, immunosuppressive agents and permanence in acidifying soils.
Chronic diarrhea characterized by malabsorption syndrome that causes progressive weight loss
General weakness due to malnutrition and muscle wasting
Decreased milk production
Increased susceptibility to other infectious diseases
STAGES OF THE PARATUBERCULOSIS DISEASE
1 ANIMAL IN STAGE 4,
24 ANIMALS WITH THE DISEASE
DR. RAMÓN A. JUSTE
Researcher at NEIKER
Dr. Ramón A. Juste got his B.S. inVeterinary Medicine from the University of Zaragoza in 1979, and a PhD from the same university in 1990. After a period in clinical practice, he started his research career at the Basque research institute NEIKER (then SIMA), where he has been SERIDA Managing Director since 2015.
He participated in the first descriptions of several diseases not yet formally reported in Spain, such as bovine paratuberculosis, besnoitiosis, hereditary parakeratosis in calves, oslerus rostratus in cats, and others. He also helped set up a veterinary diagnostic service that later became the model for others in Spain. He has published over 200 scientific papers and has an h-index of 40 according to the WOS.