Now showing 1 - 10 of 20
  • Publication
    Changing epidemiology of the tick-borne bovine parasite, Babesia divergens
    Bovine babesiosis is caused by the tick-borne blood parasite, Babesia divergens. A survey of veterinary practitioners and farmers in Ireland in the 1980’s revealed an annual incidence of 1.7% associated with considerable economic losses. However, two subsequent surveys in the 1990’s indicated a decline in clinical babesiosis. In order to determine whether any such changes have affected the incidence of bovine babesiosis in Ireland, a questionnaire survey of farmers and veterinarians was carried out and compared against data from previous surveys.
  • Publication
    Applying Haddon’s matrix to bovine injury prevention: An example using white line disease
    (World Association for Buiatrics, 2016-07-08) ; ; ;
    Haddon’s matrix is a model used to conceptualize injury occurrence. This model defines injury as energy transfer, by the agent to the host, in quantities or rates exceeding the tolerance of the host’s tissue. While this approach has been used in human injury research for over 30 years to identify risk factors and develop preventive interventions, we have not seen it applied to animal injury. Lameness, an etiologically complex condition, is a source of both economic losses and welfare concerns to the cattle industry. We introduce Haddon’s matrix as an approach to viewing traumatic animal injury using bovine white line disease as an example.
  • Publication
    A HACCP-based approach to mastitis control in dairy herds. Part 1: Development
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2011) ; ; ;
    Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) systems are a risk based preventive approach developed to increase levels of food safety assurance. This is part 1 of a pilot study on the development, implementation and evaluation of a HACCP-based approach for the control of good udder health in dairy cows. The paper describes the use of a novel approach based on a deconstruction of the infectious process in mastitis to identify Critical Control Points (CCPs) and develop a HACCP-based system to prevent and control mastitis in dairy herds. The approach involved the creation of an Infectious Process Flow Diagram, which was then cross-referenced to two production process flow diagrams of the milking process and cow management cycle. The HACCP plan developed, may be suitable for customisation and implementation on dairy farms. This is a logical, systematic approach to the development of a mastitis control programme that could be used as a template for the development of control programmes for other infectious diseases in the dairy herd.
  • Publication
    Herd and within-herd BoHV-1 prevalence among irish beef herds submitting bulls for entry to a performance testing station
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2008) ; ; ;
    Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR), caused by bovine herpes virus 1 (BoHV-1), may result in various clinical consequences, including severe respiratory disease and conjunctivitis, venereal disease and reduced reproductive performance and abortion. This paper presents the serosurveillance findings from an intake of bulls into a performance testing station in Ireland during November 2007. The herd and within-herd BoHV-1 prevalence in 53 Irish beef herds and the risk factors for infection in these herds were determined, among bulls entering a beef performance testing station in Ireland. BoHV-1 status was determined for 41 herds, of which 30 (73.2%) herds were infected and the mean within-herd BoHV-1 prevalence was 28 (± 20)%. Multivariate exact logistic modelling revealed increasing numbers of contiguous herds and decreasing percentage of males within the herd as significant risk factors associated with infected herds. These findings highlight the high prevalence of BoHV-1 infection in those Irish beef herds that submitted bulls to this performance testing station, and raise concerns regarding IBR control nationally.
      345Scopus© Citations 18
  • Publication
    Seroprevalence of Mycoplasma bovis in bulk milk samples in Irish dairy herds and risk factors associated with herd seropositive status
    Mycoplasma bovis is a serious disease of cattle worldwide; mastitis, pneumonia, and arthritis are particularly important clinical presentations in dairy herds. Mycoplasma bovis was first identified in Ireland in 1994, and the reporting of Mycoplasma-associated disease has substantially increased over the last 5 years. Despite the presumed endemic nature of M. bovis in Ireland, there is a paucity of data on the prevalence of infection, and the effect of this disease on the dairy industry. The aim of this observational study was to estimate apparent herd prevalence for M. bovis in Irish dairy herds using routinely collected bulk milk surveillance samples and to assess risk factors for herd seropositivity. In autumn 2018, 1,500 herds out of the 16,858 herds that submitted bulk tank milk (BTM) samples to the Department of Agriculture testing laboratory for routine surveillance were randomly selected for further testing. A final data set of 1,313 sampled herds with a BTM ELISA result were used for the analysis. Testing was conducted using an indirect ELISA kit (ID Screen Mycoplasma bovis). Herd-level risk factors were used as explanatory variables to determine potential risk factors associated with positive herd status (reflecting past or current exposure to M. bovis). A total of 588 of the 1,313 BTM samples were positive to M. bovis, providing an apparent herd prevalence of 0.45 (95% CI: 0.42, 0.47) in Irish dairy herds in autumn 2018. Multivariable analysis was conducted using logistic regression. The final model identified herd size, the number of neighboring farms, in-degree and county as statistically significant risk factors for herd BTM seropositivity to M. bovis. The results suggest a high apparent herd prevalence of seropositivity to M. bovis, and evidence that M. bovis infection is now endemic in the Irish dairy sector. In addition, risk factors identified are closely aligned to what we would expect of an infectious disease. Awareness raising and education about this important disease is warranted given the widespread nature of exposure and likely infection in Irish herds. Further work on the validation of diagnostic tests for herd-level diagnosis should be undertaken as a matter of priority.
    Scopus© Citations 2  41
  • Publication
    The effect of growth rate on reproductive outcomes in replacement dairy heifers in seasonally calving, pasture-based systems
    The effect of average daily gain (ADG) on reproductive outcomes in replacement dairy heifers was investigated. All heifers were managed in the typical Irish spring calving, pasture-based system, where the herd calves in 1 block between January and April and the majority of the diet comprises grazed grass. Heifer calves (n = 399) from 7 herds were weighed at birth and at the beginning of the breeding season, and ADG was calculated. Service dates and pregnancy diagnosis results were recorded, and conception dates were calculated. Days open (DO) was defined as the number of days between the beginning of the breeding season and conception. Genetic data were retrieved from the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation database. A Cox proportional hazard model was constructed to identify variables with a significant effect on DO. An accelerated failure time model was used to predict survival curves and median survival times for different combinations of the significant variables. The ADG ranged from 0.41 to 0.91 kg/d, with a median of 0.70 kg/d. Frailty effect of farm within year, maintenance subindex of the economic breeding index, and ADG had a significant effect on DO. Derived from the final accelerated failure time model, the predicted median DO for a heifer with an ADG of 0.40, 0.70, or 0.90 kg/d aged 443 d at the beginning of the breeding season and with a maintenance subindex in the second tercile were 27, 16, and 11 d, respectively.
    Scopus© Citations 10  358
  • Publication
    Estimation of the serial interval and proportion of pre-symptomatic transmission events of COVID-19 in Ireland using contact tracing data
    The serial interval is the period of time between the onset of symptoms in an infector and an infectee and is an important parameter which can impact on the estimation of the reproduction number. Whilst several parameters influencing infection transmission are expected to be consistent across populations, the serial interval can vary across and within populations over time. Therefore, local estimates are preferable for use in epidemiological models developed at a regional level. We used data collected as part of the national contact tracing process in Ireland to estimate the serial interval of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the Irish population, and to estimate the proportion of transmission events that occurred prior to the onset of symptoms. Results After data cleaning, the final dataset consisted of 471 infected close contacts from 471 primary cases. The median serial interval was 4 days, mean serial interval was 4.0 (95% confidence intervals 3.7, 4.3) days, whilst the 25th and 75th percentiles were 2 and 6 days respectively. We found that intervals were lower when the primary or secondary case were in the older age cohort (greater than 64 years). Simulating from an incubation period distribution from international literature, we estimated that 67% of transmission events had greater than 50% probability of occurring prior to the onset of symptoms in the infector. Conclusions Whilst our analysis was based on a large sample size, data were collected for the primary purpose of interrupting transmission chains. Similar to other studies estimating the serial interval, our analysis is restricted to transmission pairs where the infector is known with some degree of certainty. Such pairs may represent more intense contacts with infected individuals than might occur in the overall population. It is therefore possible that our analysis is biased towards shorter serial intervals than the overall population.
    Scopus© Citations 8  161
  • Publication
    Seroprevalence of Leptospira Hardjo in the Irish suckler cattle population
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2012) ; ; ;
    Background: Prior to the present study, the seroprevalence of leptospirosis in Irish suckler herds was unknown. In this study, we describe the herd and animal-level prevalence of Leptospira Hardjo infection in the Irish suckler cattle population. For the purposes of the study, the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland were divided into 6 regions from which a representative number of herds were selected. A herd was considered eligible for sampling if it was not vaccinating against leptospirosis and if it contained ≥ 9 breeding animals of beef breed ≥ 12 months of age. In total, 288 randomly selected herds were eligible for inclusion in the seroprevalence dataset analysis. Serological testing was carried out using a commercially available monoclonal antibody-capture ELISA, (sensitivity 100%; specificity 86.67%). Results: Herds were categorised as either “Free from Infection” or “Infected” using the epidemiological software tool, FreeCalc 2.0. Using this classification, 237 herds were “Infected” (82.29%). The South West and South East regions had the highest herd prevalence. The regional effect on herd prevalence was largely mirrored by breeding herd size. A true animal-level prevalence of 41.75% was calculated using the epidemiological software tool, TruePrev. There was a statistically significant regional trend, with true prevalence being highest in the South East (P < 0.05). The median Breeding Herd Size (BHS), when categorised into quartiles, had a statistically significant influence on individual animal true seroprevalence (P < 0.001); true seroprevalence increased with increasing BHS. Conclusions: Leptospirosis is a widespread endemic disease in the Republic of Ireland. It is possible that economic losses due to leptospirosis in unvaccinated Irish suckler herds may be underestimated.
      460Scopus© Citations 25
  • Publication
    Incubation period of COVID-19: a rapid systematic review and meta-analysis of observational research
    Objectives: The aim of this study was to conduct a rapid systematic review and meta-analysis of estimates of the incubation period of COVID-19. Design: Rapid systematic review and meta-analysis of observational research. Setting: International studies on incubation period of COVID-19. Participants: Searches were carried out in PubMed, Google Scholar, Embase, Cochrane Library as well as the preprint servers MedRxiv and BioRxiv. Studies were selected for meta-analysis if they reported either the parameters and CIs of the distributions fit to the data, or sufficient information to facilitate calculation of those values. After initial eligibility screening, 24 studies were selected for initial review, nine of these were shortlisted for meta-analysis. Final estimates are from meta-analysis of eight studies. Primary outcome measures: Parameters of a lognormal distribution of incubation periods. Results: The incubation period distribution may be modelled with a lognormal distribution with pooled mu and sigma parameters (95% CIs) of 1.63 (95% CI 1.51 to 1.75) and 0.50 (95% CI 0.46 to 0.55), respectively. The corresponding mean (95% CIs) was 5.8 (95% CI 5.0 to 6.7) days. It should be noted that uncertainty increases towards the tail of the distribution: the pooled parameter estimates (95% CIs) resulted in a median incubation period of 5.1 (95% CI 4.5 to 5.8) days, whereas the 95th percentile was 11.7 (95% CI 9.7 to 14.2) days. Conclusions: The choice of which parameter values are adopted will depend on how the information is used, the associated risks and the perceived consequences of decisions to be taken. These recommendations will need to be revisited once further relevant information becomes available. Accordingly, we present an R Shiny app that facilitates updating these estimates as new data become available.
    Scopus© Citations 297  396
  • Publication
    An observational study of ear-tagged calf mortality (1 to 100 days) on Irish dairy farms and associations between biosecurity practices and calf mortality on farms participating in a Johne's disease control program
    Postnatal mortality among replacement stock has a detrimental effect on the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of dairy production. Calf mortality rates vary between countries and show differences in temporal trends; most, however, are characterized by high levels of between-farm variability. Explaining this variation can be difficult because herd-level information on management practices relevant to calf health is often not available. The Irish Johne's Control Programme (IJCP) contains a substantial on-farm monitoring program called the Veterinary Risk Assessment and Management Plan (VRAMP). Although this risk assessment is largely focused on factors relevant to the transmission of paratuberculosis, many of its principles are good practice biocontainment policies that are also advocated for the protection of calf health. The objectives of this study were (1) to quantify mortality in ear-tagged Irish dairy calves between 2016 and 2020 using both survival and risk approaches, (2) to determine risk factors for 100-d cumulative mortality hazard in ear-tagged Irish dairy calves between 2016 and 2020, (3) to determine whether 100-d cumulative mortality hazard was higher in ear-tagged calves within herds registered in the IJCP versus those that were not registered in the IJCP and whether there were differences between these cohorts over time, and (4) within IJCP herds, to determine whether VRAMP score or changes in VRAMP score were associated with 100-d cumulative mortality hazard. Excluding perinatal mortality, the overall 100-d cumulative mortality hazard was 4.1%. Calf mortality was consistently underestimated using risk approaches that did not account for calf censoring. Cox proportional hazards models showed that cumulative mortality hazard was greater in male calves; particularly, calves born to Jersey breed dams and those with a beef breed sire. Mortality hazard increased with increasing herd size, was highest in calves born in herds that contract-reared heifers, and lowest in those born in mixed dairy-beef enterprises. Mortality hazard decreased over time with the mortality hazard in 2020 being 0.83 times that of 2016. Mortality hazard was higher in IJCP-registered herds than nonregistered herds (hazard ratio 1.06, 95% CI 1.01–1.12), likely reflecting differences in herds that enrolled in the national program. However, we detected a significant interaction between IJCP status (enrolled vs. not enrolled) and year (hazard ratio 0.96, 95% CI 0.92–1.00), indicating that the decrease in mortality hazard between 2016 and 2020 was greater in IJCP herds versus non-IJCP herds. Finally, increasing VRAMP scores (indicating higher risk for paratuberculosis transmission) were positively associated with increased calf mortality hazard. Postnatal calf mortality rates in Irish dairy herds declined between 2016 and 2020. Our study suggests that implementation of recommended biocontainment practices to control paratuberculosis in IJCP herds was associated with a reduction in calf mortality hazard.