MAP in the Environment
MAP in Food
MAP IN THE ENVIRONMENT:
Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), which causes Johne's Disease in many species of ruminants, is endemic in the food animal herds of almost every developed country.
According to a study conducted by the USDA in 1996, in the United States, between 20% and 40% of dairy cattle herds are infected with MAP, resulting in economic losses of at least US$1.5 billion each and every year.
Results of a new USDA survey will be published in 2003 based on
data collected in 2002. With Johne's disease increasing at an alarming
rate, undoubtedly the new figures will be higher, perhaps significantly higher,
than those in 1996.
In this section of our website we will discuss the
Paratuberculosis Problem, and the two main
routes of transmission to humans: Food and water.
Given the rampant spread of Johne's disease worldwide, consumers should be
asking leaders of the cattle industry, government officials, food safety
authorities, distributors of dairy/beef food products, and retail
supermarkets/food chains that sell dairy/beef food products:
"What are you doing to protect us from exposure to MAP?"
MAP in Food
Since MAP is not classified as a human pathogen, meat, milk and other products from animals infected with MAP may be continually entering the human food chain. There is a wealth of evidence which appears to indicate that MAP
is capable of surviving the food
processing methods that we employ to protect us from disease, such as cooking
and pasteurization. This scientific evidence is thoroughly reviewed and
discussed in the MAP in dairy products,
MAP in beef products, and
Marshfield Clinic Study - Retail Testing sections of our website.
MAP in Water
Another possible route of transmission of MAP from cattle to humans is via
contaminated water supplies. This is because MAP is shed onto pastures and
will be washed off into ground and river waters. Where such water is piped
to households for human consumption, it may enable MAP to infect people by this
route as well.
While it is possible for individuals to eliminate milk/dairy/beef products
from their diet in an attempt to limit MAP exposure, it appears to be nearly
impossible to avoid drinking MAP-contaminated water from public water
supplies, and equally as difficult to avoid foods that have potentially been
infected with MAP via irrigation methods using infected water.
There is an urgent need to determine what water treatment methods may be
effective at eliminating MAP from water supplies.
What's Being Done to Control MAP?
Even though there are various herd control programs underway throughout the
world, most are voluntary and do not demonstrate a will on the part of industry
or government to protect the public. If industry and the responsible
agencies of government were truly concerned about the public health, extremely
aggressive measures would be implemented. At a minimum, Johne's herd
control programs should be mandatory, not voluntary.
Sadly, what is being done is too little and too late,
far too late for those
suffering from Crohn's disease
and far too late for those that are literally
time bombs in terms of becoming symptomatic for Crohns' ravages.
(Please see the Governments section of our
website for detailed information about actions taking place in various countries
throughout the world.)