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Analysis of Colostrum and Udder Skin Swabs from a Dairy Goat Herd in Germany regarding the Occurrence of Mycobacterium avium Subsp. paratuberculosis

Oral intake of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) in first days of life is considered to be the main route of infection for paratuberculosis. This can be related to a direct contact to contaminated feces or feeding of MAP containing colostrum. Colostrum is believed to become contaminated either by lactogenic shedding or introduction of MAP from environmental sources. In this pilot study, the presence of MAP in individual and bulk colostrum samples from a paratuberculosis-infected, vaccinated dairy goat herd in Germany and the effect of udder skin disinfection on the MAP load of colostrum were examined. In order to distinguish between lactogenic shedding and fecal contamination, 49 udder skin swabs were cultivated on solid medium whereas 29 swabs were additionally analyzed by qPCR. qPCR was applied on 110 individual colostrum samples collected from 55 goats, one before and one after disinfection with a mycobactericidal disinfectant, and 14 bulk colostrum samples. MAP DNA was detected in 10.3% (3/29) of the swab samples, but no viable MAP was cultivated from any sample. These results indicate a low-level MAP contamination of the udder skin and colostrum of milking goats suggesting a low risk of MAP transmission via these routes.



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