Researchers in Florida, America suggest that Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP), the same bacterium that causes a similar intestinal disorder (Paratuberculosis or Johne’s disease) in cattle, sheep, and goats, may be responsible for Crohn's disease.
Crohn’s disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) resembles some aspects of tuberculosis,leprosy, and paratuberculosis.
MAP was first identified from a person with Crohn’s disease 20 years ago, however its role remains controversial.
Dr Saleh Naser and colleagues used various microbiological and molecular biology techniques to investigate the presence of MAP in the blood of 28 individuals with Crohn’s disease, 9 with ulcerative colitis, and 15 without inflammatory bowel disease.
Detection of MAP in the blood suggests that MAP infection in this IBD may be systemic
The live bacterium (viable MAP) was cultured from the blood of 14 (50%)
patients with Crohn’s disease, two (22%) with ulcerative colitis, and none of the
people who did not have IBD.
Dr Naser comments: “The two ulcerative colitis patients with viable MAP may represent misdiagnosis or possible co-infection cases."
He adds, "Detection of viable MAP in the blood of Crohn’s disease patients suggests that MAP infection in this IBD may be systemic."
Dr Naser believes that "it is of great interest to address the epidemiologic source of MAP in these patient's with Crohn's disease."
The group believes that a multi-center, larger-scale investigation is urgently needed.