Identifying individual animal factors associated with Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) milk ELISA positivity in dairy cattle in the Midwest region of the United States

Gustavo Machado, Kaushi Kanankege, Val Schumann, Scott Wells, Andres Perez, Julio Alvarez

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6 Scopus citations


Background: Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is a widespread chronic disease of ruminants that causes severe economic losses to the dairy cattle industry worldwide. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association between individual cow MAP-ELISA and relevant milk production predictors in dairy cattle using data routinely collected as part of quality and disease control programs in the Midwest region of the U.S. Milk ELISA results of 45,652 animals from 691 herds from November 2014 to August 2016 were analyzed. Results: The association between epidemiological and production factors and ELISA results for MAP in milk was quantified using four individual-level mixed multivariable logistic regression models that accounted for clustering of animals at the farm level. The four fitted models were one global model for all the animals assessed here, irrespective of age, and one for each of the categories of < 4 year-old, 4-8 year-old, and > 8 year-old cattle, respectively. A small proportion (4.9%; n = 2222) of the 45,652 tested samples were MAP-seropositive. Increasing age of the animals and higher somatic cell count (SCC) were both associated with increased odds for MAP positive test result in the model that included all animals, while milk production, milk protein and days in milk were negatively associated with MAP milk ELISA. Somatic cell count was positively associated with an increased risk in the models fitted for < 4 year-old and 4-8 year-old cattle. Variables describing higher milk production, milk protein content and days in milk were associated with significantly lower risk in the models for 4-8 year-old cattle and for all cattle. Conclusions: Our results suggest that testing cows with high SCC (> 26 × 1000/ml), low milk production and within the first 60 days of lactation may maximize the odds of detecting seropositive animals. These results could be useful in helping to design better surveillance strategies based in testing of milk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number28
JournalBMC Veterinary Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 25 2018



  • Dairy cattle
  • Mixed-model
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis
  • Somatic cell count

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