MAP is a shorthand for 'Mycobacterium Avium Subspecies Paratuberculosis', a bacteria of the mycobacteria genus. (not to be confused with other M. avium species) The Mycobacterium genus includes tens of subspecies, amongst them are well known pathogens such as M. Tuberculosis, M Bovis and M. Leprae.[1]

MAP infection causes Johne's disease (pronounced "Yoh-nees") or Paratuberculosis (Ptb) in several mammals like cattle, goats, sheep, eland, horses, pigs and primates (stumptail macaques).[2] Paratuberculosis is well documented in cattle and can spread through feces and milk. Clinical symptoms can be evident years after initial infection, it affects primarily the ileum.

MAP causes inflammation and is able to invade and survive inside macrophages, setting in motion a granulomatous response at the site of lesion.

Zoonotic potential

Clinically Johne's disease in animals has similarities to Crohn's disease in humans. Dalziel in 1913 noted these similarities in the British Medical Journal Vol. 2, No. 2756 [3]

"In vol. xx of the Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics, McFayden draws attention to Johne's disease, a chronic bacterial enteritis of cattle in which the histological characters and naked eye appearances are as similar as may be to those found in man."

MAP is very heat resistant and is able to survive pasteurisation.

People with crohn's disease tend to harbour more MAP than controls, although tests are not consistent. Perhaps hindered by challenges localising, isolating and culturing this intracellular mycobacteria producing false-negatives.


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