World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 21, Issue 6–7, pp 1175–1179 | Cite as

Mycobacterium avium Subspecies Paratuberculosis in the Inflamed Gut Tissues of Patients with Crohn’s Disease in China and its Potential Relationship to the Consumption of Cow’s Milk: A Preliminary Study

  • J. Cheng
  • T. J. Bull
  • P. Dalton
  • S. Cen
  • C. Finlayson
  • J. Hermon-Taylor


Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis infection in domestic livestock is widespread in many countries throughout the world. Studies in Europe and the USA show that M. avium subspecies paratuberculosis can be cultured from retail pasteurized cow’s milk and that these organisms are being transmitted to humans by this route. Most people with chronic inflammation of the intestine of the Crohn’s disease type are infected with these chronic enteric pathogens. The production and consumption of cow’s milk has increased in China and so also has the incidence of Crohn’s disease. The present preliminary investigation was carried out to determine whether M. avium subspecies paratuberculosis is present in the intestinal tissues of Chinese patients with Crohn’s disease who have never left China. Archival paraffin-embedded surgical pathology blocks from patients having surgery for Crohn’s disease (CD) or for cancer (nIBD) in China were studied. M. avium subspecies paratuberculosis was detected by nested IS900 PCR with Southern blotting and amplicon sequencing. The intestinal tissues of 9 of 13 (69.2%) CD patients and 2 of 14 (14.3%) nIBD patients were IS900 PCR positive (P = 0.0063; odds ratio = 13.5). These initial studies suggest that people in China are exposed to M. avium subspecies paratuberculosis and that as in other countries, the infection is significantly associated with Crohn’s disease. M. avium subspecies paratuberculosis in dairy herds and retail milk in China needs to be investigated.


China Crohn’s disease dairy products food safety infection inflammatory bowel disease Johne’s disease Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis pasteurization zoonosis 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Cheng
    • 1
    • 3
  • T. J. Bull
    • 1
  • P. Dalton
    • 2
  • S. Cen
    • 1
    • 4
  • C. Finlayson
    • 2
  • J. Hermon-Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgerySt. George’s Hospital Medical SchoolLondonUK
  2. 2.Department of HistopathologySt. George’s Hospital Medical SchoolLondonUK
  3. 3.General Surgery, TC-2926DUniversity of Michigan Health SystemAnn ArborUSA
  4. 4.Department of DigestionAffiliated Hospital to Ningxia Medical UniversityYinchuanChina

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