Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
  • Publication
    Risk factors for detection of bovine viral diarrhoea virus in low-risk herds during the latter stages of Ireland’s eradication programme
    Background: A national programme to eradicate bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) has been in place in Ireland since 2013. To inform decision making in the end stages of eradication, and support the development of posteradication surveillance strategies, an understanding of risks of infection in a low prevalence system is required. Methods: A case-control study design was implemented. The study population comprised bovine herds that had calves born and tested negative for BVD virus (BVDV) every year from 2013 to 2019 (n = 46,219 herds). We defined cases as herds which had one or more test positive calves for the first time in 2019 (n = 204). Controls (n = 816) were randomly sampled from the herds which remained test negative in 2019. The effects of herd size, management system, inward movements, including those of potential trojan dams (pregnant animals brought into the herd that could potentially be carrying infected calves in utero), and proximity to herds testing positive in the preceding year, were investigated. Network analysis approaches were used to generate variables measuring connections with test positive herds through inward cattle movements. A generalised linear mixed model, including a county-level random effect, was used to explore these risk factors. Results: Our final model retained ln (herd size) (Odds Ratio (95% CI): 1.72 (1.40, 2.12)), distance from test positive herds (0.54 (0.44, 0.66) for each extra land-parcel boundary crossed to reach the closest herd which tested positive the preceding year), and ln (potential trojan dams + 1) (1.29 (1.05, 1.60)). The same variables were retained in the model where herds with confirmed transient infections only (n = 25) were excluded. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that care with biosecurity at farm boundaries and visitors and equipment entering the farm, and avoidance or careful risk assessment of purchasing potentially pregnant animals, may help prevent introduction of BVDV to low-risk herds. At policy level, consideration of herd size, proximity to test positive herds and purchasing patterns of potentially pregnant cattle may help target surveillance measures towards the end of the eradication programme.
    Scopus© Citations 3  199
  • Publication
    Investigation of the association between the Enferplex bovine tuberculosis antibody test and the future risk of bovine tuberculosis in irish cattle in infected herds: a pilot field study
    The Single Intradermal Comparative Tuberculin Test (SICTT) and the interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) assay are the approved diagnostic tests for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in Ireland. The aim of this pilot study was to explore if there was any added diagnostic benefit from applying the Enferplex bTB test (an antibody test) in severe bTB herd breakdowns after the removal of cattle that had tested positive to the SICTT and the IFN-γ test. In addition to the normal bTB testing and management protocols, the animals in these herds that tested negative to SICTT and the IFN-γ test were followed forward for a period of two years. All animals were tested by Enferplex at enrolment. The time to subsequent bTB detection (diagnosed with SICTT/IFN-γ tests or detection of visible lesions at routine slaughter) for animals that tested positive or negative to the Enferplex bTB test at the start of the study was compared using Kaplan–Meier survival curves and Cox based survival models. Of the 484 enrolled animals (from 11 herds), 171 (35.3%) and 151 (31.1%) initially tested positive in the Enferplex assay under the high sensitivity and high specificity interpretation settings respectively. The results of the survival analysis showed that there was no difference in the survival time to a positive diagnosis with bTB during the follow-up period between animals initially classified as positive and negative by the Enferplex test. Further research is warranted to explore the potential benefit of using the Enferplex test in other scenarios.
    Scopus© Citations 2  22
  • Publication
    Herd-level factors associated with detection of calves persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) in Irish cattle herds with negative herd status (NHS) during 2017
    A compulsory national BVD eradication programme commenced in Ireland in 2013. Since then considerable progress has been made, with the animal-level prevalence of calves born persistently infected (PI) falling from 0.67 % in 2013 to 0.06 % in 2018. The herd-level prevalence fell from 11.3 % in 2013 to 1.1 % in 2018. In the Irish programme, herds in which all animals have a known negative status and which have not contained any PI animals for 12 months or more are assigned a negative herd status (NHS). While considerable progress towards eradication has been made, PI calves have been identified in a small proportion of herds that had previously been assigned NHS. Given this context, a case-control study was conducted to investigate potential risk factors associated with loss of NHS in 2017. 546 herds which had NHS on 1 January 2017 and lost that status during 2017 (case herds) were matched with 2191 herds (control herds) that retained their NHS status throughout 2017. Previous history of BVD infection, herd size, herd expansion, the purchase of cattle including potential Trojan cattle and the density of BVD infection within 10 km of the herd emerged as significant factors in a multivariable logistic regression model. This work adds to the evidence base in support of the BVD eradication programme, particularly establishing why BVD re-emerged in herds which had been free of BVD for at least the previous 12 months prior to the identification of a BVD positive calf. This information will be especially important in the context of identifying herds which may be more likely to contain BVD positive animals once the programme moves to herd-based serology status for trading purposes in the post-eradication phase.
      191Scopus© Citations 8
  • Publication
    Sampling Methodology to Maximize the Efficient Use of National Abattoir Surveillance: Using Archived Sera to Substantiate Freedom From Bluetongue Virus Infection in Ireland
    In recent years, there has been increasing recognition of the value of multiple data sources available to fulfill surveillance objectives, and the use of these has been applied to address many questions relating to animal health surveillance. In Ireland, we face a slightly different problem, namely, best use of an existing surveillance resource (serological samples collected over many years from cull cows at slaughter), which has been used to substantiate freedom from Brucella abortus following its successful eradication in 2009. In this study, we evaluate a sampling methodology to use this resource to substantiate freedom from bluetongue virus (BTV) infection. An examination of the degree to which cull cows were resident in the same herd throughout the midge biting season showed that, of 50,640 samples collected between 17 October and 23 December 2016, 80.2% were from animals resident in the same herd between 01 April 2016 and 2 months prior to their slaughter date, 74.1% for 1 month prior, 70.1% for 2 weeks prior, 66.4% for 1 week prior, and 56.4% up to 1 day prior to slaughter. An examination was made of the degree to which individual samples within the same 88-well frozen storage block came from geographically clustered herds, whether from a concentration of animals from the same herd in a single block, or from clustering around the slaughterhouse where the samples were taken. On the basis of these analyses, a sampling strategy was derived aimed at minimizing the number of storage blocks which needed to be thawed, whilst ensuring a large enough and representative sample, geographically stratified according to the bovine population of 51 squares, each 45 × 45 km, covering the entirety of Ireland. None of the 503 samples tested were positive for BTV, providing reassurance of national BTV freedom. More broadly, the study demonstrates the use of abattoir-based serological samples collected for one large scale surveillance programme in surveillance for other bovine infections.
    Scopus© Citations 4  404
  • Publication
    Exposure to Schmallenberg virus in Irish sheep in 2013
    Fetal malformation due to Schmallenberg virus (SBV) was diagnosed in 49 cattle herds and 30 sheep flocks in the south and south east of Ireland in 2013. Serological and pathological studies in cattle, and pathological studies in sheep indicated SBV exposure was confined to the south and south east of Ireland. It was anticipated that SBV exposure would spread north westwards over the course of the 2013 vector season. The objectives of this study were to determine the geographic distribution of SBV exposure in Irish sheep before and during the 2013 vector season, and to determine if SBV was active in flocks where SBV infection had been previously confirmed. There was no further increase in the geographic extent of exposure to SBV during the course of 2013, nor was there evidence of SBV transmission during 2013 in flocks where SBV had been previously confirmed.
      281Scopus© Citations 5
  • Publication
    Prevalence of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV), Bovine Herpes Virus 1 (BHV 1), Leptospirosis and Neosporosis, and associated risk factors in 161 Irish beef herds
    Background: There are limited data available, in Ireland or elsewhere, to determine the extent of exposure to various endemic diseases among beef cows and factors associated with exposure to causative pathogens. The objectives of this study were to determine the herd and within herd prevalence of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV), Bovine Herpes Virus 1 (BHV-1), Leptospirosis and Neosporosis in a large scale study of commercial beef herds on the island of Ireland, and to examine herd level factors associated with exposure to these pathogens in these herds. Results: The average number of cows tested per herd was 35.5 (median 30). Herd level seroprevalence to Bovine Herpesvirus-1(BHV-1), Bovine Viral-Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV), Leptospirosis and Neosporosis was 90%, 100%, 91% and 67%, respectively, while the mean within herd prevalence for the these pathogens was 40%, 77.7%, 65.7% and 5.7%, respectively. The study confirms that the level of seroconversion for the four pathogens of interest increases with herd size. There was also evidence that exposure to one pathogen may increase the risk of exposure to another pathogen. Conclusions: Herd level seroprevalences were in excess of 90% for BVDV, BHV-1 and Leptosporosis. Larger herds were subject to increased exposure to disease pathogens. This study suggests that exposure to several pathogens may be associated with the further exposure to other pathogens.
    Scopus© Citations 25  355
  • Publication
    Considerations on BVD eradication for the Irish livestock industry
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2011) ; ; ;
    Animal Health Ireland has produced clear guidelines for the control of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) infection in Irish cattle herds. In the course of developing these guidelines it was clear that a framework for regional and/or national BVD control would be required to increase the uptake of BVD control at farm level and reduce the overall prevalence of the disease. This paper assessed the economic impact of BVD, epidemiological aspects of the disease to its control, models of BVD control, international experiences of BVD control programmes. The technical knowledge and test technology exists to eradicate BVD. Indeed, many countries have successfully and others are embarking on control of the disease. The identification and prompt elimination of PI cattle will form the basis of any control programme. The trade of such animals must be curtailed. Pregnant and potentially pregnant carrying PI foetuses pose a significant threat. International experience indicates systematic, well coordinated programmes have the most success, while voluntary programmes can make good initial progress but ultimately fail. The farming community must buy into any proposed programme, and without their support, failure is likely. To buy into the programme and create such a demand for BVD control, farmers must first be well informed. It is likely that stemming economic loss and improving productivity will be the primary motivator at individual farm level.
    Scopus© Citations 44  540
  • Publication
    Prevalence and distribution of exposure to Schmallenberg virus in Irish cattle during November 2012 to November 2013
    Background: Schmallenberg virus (SBV) was first identified in November 2011. It is a novel Orthobunyavirus (family Bunyaviridae) whose main ill effect is congenital malformation of the musculoskeletal and central nervous systems. It is borne by Culicoides spp., and has spread extensively in western Europe. The first case of SBV in Ireland was diagnosed in October 2012. It was anticipated that once the virus emerged in Ireland that there would be wide scale or nationwide spread over the course of the 2013 vector season. The objectives of this study were to determine the seroprevalence and distribution of exposure to Schmallenberg virus in Irish cattle from November 2012 to November 2013. Methods: Samples of brain for the pathology based surveillance were collected from malformed bovine and ovine foetuses submitted for post mortem examination. These samples were tested for SBV using RT-qPCR. Three serological surveys were carried out on sera submitted for the national brucellosis eradicartion programme. A spatial analysis of both sets of data was carried out. Results: Between October 2012 and 10th May 2013, SBV was confirmed by RT-qPCR in brain tissues from malformed foetuses obtained from 49 cattle herds and 30 sheep flocks in Ireland. In national serosurveys conducted between November 2012 until November 2013 the herd-level and animal-level SBV seroprevalences in cattle were 53 and 36 % respectively for the first survey, 51 and 35 % for the second survey and 53 and 33 % for the third survey. The herd level seroprevalence in counties ranged from 0 to 100 %, with the counties in the south and southeast having the highest seroprevalence (>50 %), the midlands a moderate herd level seroprevalence (10–50 %) while northern and north western counties had a low herd level seroprevalence (0–10 %). There was close spatial agreement between the results of the two different targeted surveillance strategies. Conclusions: At the end of the 2012 vector season, there was widespread exposure to SBV among herds in southern and south eastern Ireland. During 2013, there was little or no evidence of further outward spread, unlike the situation in several other European countries. Given the lack of evidence for circulation of the virus since 2012, it is likely that the younger age cohort in herds previously exposed to SBV and substantial proportions of animals of all ages on the margins of affected areas are immunologically naïve to SBV, and would be susceptible to infection if the virus were to re-emerge.
    Scopus© Citations 13  213
  • Publication
    Seroprevalence of Louping Ill virus (LIV) antibodies in sheep submitted for post mortem examination in the North West of Ireland in 2011
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2012) ; ; ;
    Blood samples were collected opportunistically at routine post mortem examination from 199 sheep which came from 152 flocks. The location of each submitting flock was mapped. Sera were tested using a goose blood haemagglutination inhibition assay for louping ill virus. There was an animal level prevalence of 8.5%, and a flock level prevalence of 9.8%. The greatest proportion of seropositive animals was identified among the animals older than 24 months of age. The elevation of the land associated with positive flocks was greater than that of negative flocks. Lesions of non-suppurative meningoencephalitis were observed in three of the 199 animals.
    Scopus© Citations 3  295