Potential contamination of endangered Florida Key deer habitat with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis
Murray, Heidi Lynn
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Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) is the causative agent of Johne’s disease, a progressive wasting disease of domestic and wild ruminants. Johne’s disease was first detected in the endangered Florida Key deer population in 1996 on Big Pine Key, Florida. Since previous studies have shown that MAP is persistent in contaminated areas, I hypothesized that MAP is present in the environment on Big Pine Key and the Newfound Harbor Keys. Between November 2009 and July 2011, a total of 675 environmental samples, 249 fecal samples, and tissue and fecal samples from 43 necropsied Key deer were collected and cultured for MAP. All environmental and fecal samples collected were negative for MAP but MAP was isolated from three of 43 (7%) sampled Key deer. Results of this study indicate that MAP is at a very low prevalence in the environment within the Key deer range.