PENICUIK, Scotland, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Scottish scientists say a bacterium possibly linked to Crohn's disease could be lurking in wild animals, supporting theories of wildlife infection reservoirs.
A research team led by Karen Stevenson of the Moredun Research Institute in Scotland used three genotyping techniques to identify specific strains of the Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in 164 samples taken from 19 livestock and wildlife species from the Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland and Spain.
According to the study to be published in the journal BMC Microbiology, the results were combined to investigate sources of such infections and show the possibility of transmission between wildlife and domestic ruminants.
"Identical genotypes were obtained from … different host species co-habiting on the same property, strongly suggesting that inter-species transmission occurs," the researchers said, noting the bacteria infects a variety of wildlife and host species that potentially could be reservoirs for infection of domestic livestock and have serious implications for infection control.
Related to the bacterium causing tuberculosis in humans and in cows, Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis causes severe diarrhea in ruminants, and has been suggested as a possible cause for Crohn's disease in humans.