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Johne's disease (JD) infection, caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, represents a major disease problem in farmed ruminants. Although JD has been well characterized in cattle and sheep, little is known of the infection dynamics or immunological response in deer. In this study, typing of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates from intestinal lymphatic tissues from 74 JD-infected animals showed that clinical isolates of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis from New Zealand farmed red deer were exclusively of the bovine strain genotype. The susceptibility of deer to M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis was further investigated by experimental oral-route infection studies using defined isolates of virulent bovine and ovine M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis strains. Oral inoculation with high (109 CFU/animal) or medium (107 CFU/animal) doses of the bovine strain of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis established 100% infection rates, compared to 69% infection following inoculation with a medium dose of the ovine strain. The high susceptibility of deer to the bovine strain of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis was confirmed by a 50% infection rate following experimental inoculation with a low dose of bacteria (103 CFU/animal). This study is the first to report experimental M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection in red deer, and it outlines the strong infectivity of bovine-strain M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates for cervines.
- protective efficacy
- wild ruminants
- farmed deer
O'Brien, R., Mackintosh, C. G., Bakker, D., Kopecna, M., Pavlik, I., & Griffin, J. F. T. (2006). Immunological and molecular characterization of susceptibility in relationship to bacterial strain differences in Mycobacterium avium subsp paratuberculosis infection in the red deer (Cervus elaphus). Infection and Immunity, 74(6), 3530-3537. https://doi.org/10.1128/IAI.01688-05