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Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2011, Article ID 352561, 12 pages
Research Article

Diagnosis and Molecular Characterization of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis from Dairy Cows in Colombia

1Institute of Veterinary Food Sciences, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Frankfurter Straße 92, 35392 Giessen, Germany
2Escuela de Medicina Veterinaria (Grupo Centauro), Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad de Antioquia, Carrera 75, No. 65-87, Medellín, Colombia
3Institute of Food Quality and Food Safety, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Bischofsholer Damm 15, 30173 Hannover, Germany

Received 15 December 2010; Revised 29 January 2011; Accepted 16 March 2011

Academic Editor: Jesse M. Hostetter

Copyright © 2011 J. A. Fernández-Silva 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.


The objective of this study was the serological, bacteriological and molecular diagnosis, as well as the molecular characterization of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Map) in adult cows of five Colombian dairy herds. Serum samples were tested by an indirect absorbed enzyme–linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA-C). All fecal samples were tested by pooled culture. After that, fecal samples of Map positive pools were tested individually by culture and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In one herd, slurry and tissue samples from one animal were also taken and tested by PCR and culture. Map isolates were analyzed by the Multilocus Short Sequence Repeat (MLSSR) and the Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetitive Units-Variable Number of Tandem Repeats (MIRU-VNTR) methods. ELISA produced positive results in 1.8% (6/329) of the animals and 40% (2/5) of the herds. Four fecal, two tissue, and two slurry samples from a herd were Map positive by culture and PCR. MLSSR and MIRU-VNTR revealed two different strain profiles among eight Map isolates recovered. This study reports the first molecular characterization of Map in one dairy herd in Colombia, the limitations for individual diagnosis of subclinical Map infections in cattle, and the usefulness of pooled fecal samples and environmental sampling for Map diagnosis.