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Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2011, Article ID 152687, 7 pages
Research Article

Apparent Prevalence of Beef Carcasses Contaminated with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis Sampled from Danish Slaughter Cattle

1Department of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Grønnegårdsvej 8, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
2Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, SCT1, Via San Giacomo 5, 37135 Verona, Italy

Received 14 December 2010; Revised 10 February 2011; Accepted 20 February 2011

Academic Editor: Michael D. Welsh

Copyright © 2011 Hisako Okura et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Presence of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) in beef has been reported as a public health concern because asymptomatically infected cattle may contain MAP in tissues that are used for human consumption. Associations between MAP carcasses contamination and animal characteristics such as age, breed, production type, and carcass classification were assessed. Cheek muscles from 501 carcasses were sampled cross-sectionally at a Danish abattoir and tested for presence of viable MAP and MAP DNA by bacterial culture and IS900 realtime PCR, respectively. Cheek muscle tissues from carcasses of two dairy cows were positive by culture whereas 4% of the animals were estimated with ≥10 CFU/gram muscle based on realtime PCR. Age was found to be associated with carcass contamination with MAP. The observed viable MAP prevalence in beef carcasses was low. However, detection of MAP and MAP DNA in muscle tissues suggested that bacteremia occurred in slaughtered cattle.