Johne’s Disease and Captive Non-Domestic Hoofstock:

Johne’s Disease and Captive Non-Domestic Hoofstock: Prevalence and Prevention IAAAM 2000 Elizabeth Manning , MPH, MBA, DVM; Michael Ziccardi , DVM, MPVM School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA; Institute for Wildlife Infectious Disease, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL, USA Abstract Johne’s disease (paratuberculosis) is a fatal and often clinically invisible transmissible disease of hoofstock. The infection has been reported in many captive or free­ranging artiodactyl species. Animals are infected by the etiologic agent (Mycobacterium avium ss. paratuberculosis (Map)) in the first few months of life. They may appear healthy for years afterwards but during this long subclinical phase the animal is capable of infecting offspring and herdmates by shedding the organism in its feces and milk. When clinical signs do appear, they are non­specific (weight loss and diarrhea in some species) and are often masked by other common health problems (e.g., enteroparasites). The pathobiology of the disease hampers the effectiveness of standard diagnostic assays (late production of antibody, sporadic shedding of the slow­growing organism, minimal gross pathology in subclinical and in some species clinical disease). Additional aggravating aspects of the infection include interference with TB testing and the unresolved question of Map’s zoonotic potential. How much effort should go towards Map infection control in the zoo industry? The level of attention that should be focused on any disease should match the risk it represents to the national collection. Disease risk is a function of health impact (morbidity/mortality), the balance between prevention vs. eradication (what does it take in time and money to keep it out vs. stamp it out?) and prevalence (how likely is it that you will buy the infection along with the next pair of bongos?). For Map infection in the zoo industry the effects are as follows. Health impact: Debilitating and eventually fatal. Prevention: Feasible. Eradication: Both expensive and difficult. Prevalence: Unknown. A study is underway with the assistance of American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) accredited facilities to assess the risk factors for introduction of this disturbing infection to captive artiodactyl species. Other goals are to establish a baseline prevalence of the infection against which to measure the progress of control efforts and to share current knowledge about Johne’s disease in captive nondomestic hoofstock. A short Johne’s disease survey was mailed to all AZA accredited institutions with hoofstock species in their collection. A summary of responses from the133 respondents (90% response rate) appears below. Elements of particular pertinence are: