Prevalence of and risk factors for paratuberculosis in purebred beef cattle.
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OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence of paratuberculosis in purebred beef cattle in Texas and identify risk factors for seropositivity. DESIGN: Epidemiologic survey. ANIMALS: 4,579 purebred cattle from 115 beef ranches in Texas. PROCEDURE: Blood was collected, and serum was analyzed for antibodies with a commercial ELISA. Fecal samples were collected and frozen at -80 degrees C until results of the ELISA were obtained, and feces from seropositive cattle were submitted for mycobacterial culture. Herd owners completed a survey form on management factors. RESULTS: Results of the ELISA were positive for 137 of the 4,579 (3.0%) cattle, and 50 of the 115 (43.8%) herds had at least 1 seropositive animal. Results of mycobacterial culture were positive for 10 of the 137 (7.3%) seropositive cattle, and 9 of the 50 (18%) seropositive herds had at least 1 animal for which results of mycobacterial culture were positive. Risk factors for seropositivity included water source, use of dairy-type nurse cows, previous clinical signs of paratuberculosis, species of cattle (Bos taurus vs Bos indicus), and location. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Results suggested that seroprevalence of paratuberculosis among purebred beef cattle in Texas may be greater than seroprevalence among beef cattle in the United States as a whole; however, this difference could be attributable to breed or regional differences in infection rates or interference by cross-reacting organisms. Veterinarians should be aware of risk factors for paratuberculosis as well as the possibility that unexpected serologic results may be found in some herds.