Quantitative Risk Assessment of Exposure to Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) via Different Types of Milk for the Slovenian Consumer
This study aimed to assess the risk of exposure to Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) via milk for the Slovenian consumer. MAP is suspected to be associated with several diseases in humans, therefore the risk of exposure should be better understood. The primary source of MAP for humans is thought to be cattle, in which MAP causes paratuberculosis or Johne’s disease. We developed a stochastic quantitative risk assessment model using Monte Carlo simulations. Considering the assumptions and uncertainties, we estimated the overall risk of exposure to MAP via milk to be low. For people consuming raw milk from MAP positive farms, the risk was high. On-farm pasteurisation reduced the risk considerably, but not completely. The risk of exposure via pasteurised retail milk was most likely insignificant. However, with a higher paratuberculosis prevalence the risk would also increase. Given the popularity of raw milk vending machines and homemade dairy products, this risk should not be ignored. To reduce the risk, consumers should heat raw milk before consumption. To prevent a potential public health scare and safeguard farmers’ livelihoods, a reduction in paratuberculosis prevalence should be sought. Our results show that culling clinically infected cows was insufficient to reduce milk contamination with MAP.