Hope has come for sufferers of a crippling bowel disease in the form of a new vaccine.

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The news comes as fears are rising that Crohn’s disease is caused by a bug found in milk.

Human trials begin this summer on the innovative vaccine which researchers believe is a breakthrough in the battle to find a cure for the disease.

Scotland has one of the highest incidences of Crohn’s disease in the world with one in 200 people affected. The majority of these are young people and children.

Professor John Hermon-Taylor of King’s College, London is convinced a TB-like bacterium called MAP ((mycobacterium avian subspecies paratuberculosus) is the cause of the disease.

The bug causes a similar illness in cattle, sheep, pigs and primates, and he believes, once passed into the food chain, through milk or meat, causes most human cases of Crohn’s disease. The bacterium is now also being implicated in a similar inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis.

New research commissioned by the UK government has also revealed evidence that MAP may be the cause of Crohn’s.

In the report issued a few months ago by the Government’s Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens, Dr Ingrid Olsen said: “Together with all the genetic susceptibility emerging over the last decade, it is very hard to reject the hypothesis of mycobacteria being involved in the development of CD.”

The report also reveals live MAP is much more prevalent in pasteurised milk supplies than previously thought.

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