Bacteria That May Cause Crohn’s, and Its Link to Animals, Are Key Topics at Philadelphia Event

Bacteria That May Cause Crohn’s, and Its Link to Animals, Are Key Topics at Philadelphia Event
Growing evidence suggests that the Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) is the bacteria that causes Crohn’s disease and that the disease can be transmitted from animals to humans, scientists at a Philadelphia conference revealed. Researchers from around the world attended the event to exchange information and seek consensus on diagnostic tests and therapeutic options for detecting and controlling MAP in Crohn's, the Human Paratuberculosis Foundation reported. Scientists have known for some time that MAP causes Johne’s disease, a Crohn’s-like condition that affects animals, including livestock. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) believes that 91 percent of dairy herds are infected with MAP. Milk from infected animals often contains MAP, and not all of it is killed by pasteurization. That means it has been found in milk and diary products sold at stores. In addition, MAP has been found in rivers and treated municipal water. An indication that it can infect humans is that scientists can culture it from the blood and milk of Crohn's patients. It has also shown up in some people who have no Crohn's symptoms. MAP dysregulates the immune system, then destabilizes the gut wall. When the wall becomes leaky, other gut organisms and food residues can penetrate it, triggering the inflammatory response associated with Crohn’s.  MAP also damages and inflames the nervous system in the gut wall, which worsens the consequences of immune dysregulation. Although scientists have shown that MAP can be eliminated from dairy herds, the USDA has failed to establish rigorous enough regulations to wipe it out. A key reason is that MAP was not believed to   cause human disease. However, a number of researchers at the conference prese
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