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Paratuberculosis and Crohn's Disease: Got Milk?
by Michael Greger, MD
Updated January 2001


The development last year with the most serious ramifications was published in the April 2000 issue of the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Knowing that cows with Johne's disease shed paratuberculosis into their breast milk, researchers wondered whether paratuberculosis bacteria could be detected in the milk of human mothers with Crohn's disease.

Researchers also knew that there were reports of mothers with other mycobacterial diseases like leprosy shedding bacteria into their milk. So they examined two mothers with Crohn's who had just given birth and found paratuberculosis bacteria growing in both the mothers' breast milk, but not in the breast milk from control mothers without Crohn's. While breast-feeding has not been found to be a risk factor for Crohn's and may, for unknown reasons, actually have a protective effect,[143] the presence of MAP in the breast milk of mothers with Crohn's not only adds support to the role of MAP in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease,[112] but shows how new generations could be exposed to paraTB.[158]

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