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Pistone D.,University of Milan | Marone P.,Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo | Pajoro M.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dellEmilia Romagna | Fabbi M.,Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dellEmilia Romagna | And 14 more authors.
Digestive and Liver Disease | Year: 2012

Background: Specific bacterial infections or alterations of the gut microbiota likely trigger immuno-pathological phenomena associated with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis is a candidate etiological agent of Crohn's disease. Definitive causal connection between Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis infection and Crohn's disease has not been demonstrated. Aims: To determine the circulation of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in Crohn's disease patients and water supplies in an Italian region where this bacterium is endemic in cattle farms. Methods: Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis screening was performed on biopsies from human patients, and from water samples, using two different PCR procedures. Results: In hospitals where multiple specimens were obtained from different sites in the intestine, the prevalence of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis infection was 82.1% and 40% respectively in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis patients; in another hospital, where single specimens were obtained from patients, the bacterium was not detected. Control subjects also harboured Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, but at a lower prevalence. Tap water samples collected in the study area contained Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis DNA. Discussion: The results of screenings for Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis in humans are deeply influenced by both the number and location of the collected biopsies. There is a wide circulation of the organism in the study area, considering the prevalence in humans and its presence in drinking water. © 2012 Editrice Gastroenterologica Italiana S.r.l. Source

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