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Species/Subspecies: Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis
Etymology: Genus name: small fungus-like rod.
Species epithet: of birds.
Subspecies epithet: tuberculosis like.
Significance:Paratuberculosis is globally prevalant and is common in many countries in Europe. Sweden has been free from the disease during many years, but outbreaks have occured at a few occasions during the 21 century in connection with imports of cattle.
  [Very important]   
Type Strain: ATCC 19698.
Macromorphology (smell):
Mycobacterium avium Mycobacterium avium 
Small (0.1-2 mm in diameter), raised, white or pale yellow colonies.
Mycobacterium avium
Acid-alcohol-fast rods (0.5 x 1.5 µm), which are non-motile.
Gram +/Gram -:G+ (but difficult to gram stain)
Metabolism: Aerobic.
Spec. Char.: Generation time in vitro: 1,5-4 days. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis is a slow grower (it takes more than 7 days to see colonies with the naked eye). For primary isolation, it may be necessary to incubate the culture tube for 3-4 months.
Hosts: Ruminants (most common: cattle, goats and sheep).
Disease (Swedish):Paratuberkulos.
Disease (English):Johne's disease or paratuberculosis.
Clinical Picture: Weight loss, reduced milk production, diarrhea and eventually death.
Genome Sequence:
Acc-noStrainSize (bp)Genome
NC_002944 K-10 4 829 781 1c + 0 

16S rRNA Seq.:
Acc-noStrainNumber of NTOperon
X52934 (T) 1463 

 Mycobacterium avium
About 175 species have been described within genus Mycobacterium and this genus is closely related to Rhodococcus, Nocardia and Corynebacterium. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis subsp. avium is, as the name implies, very closely related to M. avium.
Legislation: Paratuberculosis is in Sweden a notifiable disease and it is compulsary to report it to the Swedish Board of Agriculture. The disease is regulated by the law of epzooties.
Comment:Mycobactin, which is a so-called siderophore (iron binding ligand with high affinity), is required as an additive in the medium for growth mediet. M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis grows extremely slow.
Reference(s): No. 12, 37, 38
Links: Epiwebb - om epizootisjukdomar [in Swedish], Johne's Information Center

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Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences