Association between Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis infection and milk production in two California dairies

Sharif S Aly, R. J. Anderson, John M Adaska, J. Jiang, Ian Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The association between Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) and milk production was estimated on 2 California dairies using longitudinal data from 5,926 cows. Both study herds had moderate MAP seroprevalence, housed cows in freestalls, and had Johne's disease control programs. Cow MAP status was determined using both serum ELISA and fecal culture results from cows tested at dry-off and from whole-herd tests. Potential confounders were evaluated based on a causal diagram. Mixed models with 2 functions (splines) for days in milk (DIM) representing milk production pre- and postpeak used in similar studies were further modified to use each cow's observed DIM at peak and lactation length. Cows that were seropositive produced 2.5. kg less 4% fat-corrected milk (FCM) per day than their seronegative herdmates. In addition, cows that were fecal-culture positive by liquid culture and confirmed by PCR produced 2.2. kg less 4% FCM per day than their fecal-culture negative herdmates. The decrease in milk production in MAP test-positive compared with test-negative cows started in the second lactation. A switch in MAP status in either ELISA or fecal culture results from positive to negative had no significant association with milk production. Modified DIM functions that used the observed DIM at peak had better model fit than another function that assumed a fixed peak at 60 DIM. Cows that tested positive for MAP on serum ELISA or fecal culture produced less milk than cows that tested negative, and the association between MAP and milk production was not confounded by mastitis, elevated somatic cell counts, or uterine or metabolic cow conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1030-1040
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010


  • Causal diagram
  • Fat-corrected milk
  • Mixed-effect regression model
  • Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Science
  • Genetics


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