Now showing 1 - 10 of 22
  • Publication
    Further improvement in the control of bovine tuberculosis recurrence in Ireland
    Ongoing objective assessment of national bovine tuberculosis (bTB) policy in Ireland is important to monitor efforts towards improved bTB control. The study objective was to investigate temporal trends in the risk of herd recurrence. The study included all herds derestricted following a bTB episode ending in 1998, 2008 or 2012. The respective 'study periods' were up to the end of 2001 for 1998-derestricted herds, to the end of 2011 for 2008-derestricted herds, and to the end of 2015 for 2012-derestricted herds. A multivariable Cox proportional-hazard model was developed to examine time to next restriction. The results from the model showed a continuing significant decreasing trend in herd recurrence of bTB in Ireland from 1998 until 2015: herds derestricted in 2008 were 0.75 (95 per cent CI 0.68 to 0.82) times as likely to develop a further restriction compared with 1998 herds, and herds derestricted in 2012 were 0.85 (95per cent CI 0.76 to 0.95) times as likely as 2008 herds. However, despite significant improvements, recurrence of bTB remains a concern, with 30.2 per cent (95 per cent CI 28.0 to 32.4 per cent) of herds derestricted in 2012 being re-restricted over the subsequent three years. Further work is needed to address the two key drivers of herd recurrence, namely residual infection and local reinfection.
      316Scopus© Citations 11
  • Publication
    Risk factors associated with exposure to bovine respiratory disease pathogens during the peri-weaning period in dairy bull calves
    Background: Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) remains among the leading causes of death of cattle internationally. The objective of this study was to identify risk factors associated with exposure to BRD pathogens during the peri-weaning period (day (d)-14 to d 14 relative to weaning at 0) in dairy bull calves using serological responses to these pathogens as surrogate markers of exposure. Clinically normal Holstein-Friesian and Jersey breed bull calves (n=72) were group housed in 4 pens using a factorial design with calves of different breeds and planes of nutrition in each pen. Intrinsic, management and clinical data were collected during the pre-weaning (d-56 to d-14) period. Calves were gradually weaned over 14 days (d-14 to d 0). Serological analysis for antibodies against key BRD pathogens (BRSV, BPI3V, BHV-1, BHV-4, BCoV, BVDV and H. somni) was undertaken at d-14 and d 14. Linear regression models (for BVDV, BPI3V, BHV-1, BHV-4, BCoV and H. somni) and a single mixed effect random variable model (for BRSV) were used to identify risk factors for changes in antibody levels to these pathogens. Results: BRSV was the only pathogen which demonstrated clustering by pen. Jersey calves experienced significantly lower changes in BVDV S/P than Holstein-Friesian calves. Animals with a high maximum respiratory score (≥8) recorded significant increases in H. somni S/P during the peri-weaning period when compared to those with respiratory scores of ≤3. Haptoglobin levels of between 1.32 and 1.60 mg/ml at d-14 were significantly associated with decreases in BHV-1 S/N during the peri-weaning period. Higher BVDV S/P ratios at d-14 were significantly correlated with increased changes in serological responses to BHV-4 over the peri-weaning period. Conclusions: Haptoglobin may have potential as a predictor of exposure to BHV-1. BRSV would appear to play a more significant role at the 'group' rather than 'individual animal' level. The significant associations between the pre-weaning levels of antibodies to certain BRD pathogens and changes in the levels of antibodies to the various pathogens during the peri-weaning period may reflect a cohort of possibly genetically linked 'better responders' among the study population.
      315Scopus© Citations 22
  • Publication
    Characteristics of Mycobacterium bovis infected herds tested with the interferon-gamma assay
    The IFN-γ (interferon gamma) assay is used in Ireland as an ancillary diagnostic test to the single intradermal comparative tuberculin test (SICTT) to maximise the detection of Mycobacterium bovis infected animals (bTB) in cattle herds. Understanding the relationships between herd and animal risk factors and IFN-γ test results is critical to enable the development and evaluation of policy measures on how best to use the test. In this study, we set out to characterise Irish herds with IFN-γ test positive animals in terms of herd size, number of SICTT reactors and number of IFN-γ positive tests, and to evaluate the IFN-γ test in terms of the test cut-off values. The results showed that larger herds with more SICTT reactors were likely to have more IFN-γ positives in the herd, and herds with an IFN-γ test positive animal that was also positive for bTB lesions at post-mortem had higher numbers of IFN-γ positive animals in the herd. Raising the cut-off values for the IFN-γ test only marginally decreased the combined sensitivity of the IFN-γ and the SICTT for diagnosis of bTB lesioned animals. The analysis has provided valuable information on the performance of the IFN-γ test as it is used under current bTB infection levels in Ireland.
      451Scopus© Citations 16
  • Publication
    The performance of the interferon gamma assay when used as a diagnostic or quality assurance test in Mycobacterium bovis infected herds
    There are two different contexts in the Irish bTB eradication programme in which the interferon-gamma assay (IFN-γ) is applied. Firstly, the IFN-γ assay is applied routinely to high risk cohorts in herds with four or more reactors to the SICTT. The IFN-γ test is then carried out on blood samples submitted to the laboratory within 8 h of collection (diagnostic testing). Secondly, the use of the IFN-γ assay has recently been extended to test SICTT reactors as part of a general quality assurance (QA) scheme to monitor the performance of the SICTT. Blood samples from reactors are tested one day after blood collection (QA testing). In this study, we analysed the relative performance of the SICTT and IFN-γ when used in parallel as an 8 h diagnostic test and as a 24 h QA test on SICTT reactors. A total of 17,725 IFN-γ tests were included in the analysis (11,658 diagnostic tests and 6067 QA tests). Of the samples submitted for diagnostic testing, the proportion positive to IFN-γ decreased with the severity of interpretation of the SICTT result. Of the standard reactors that were tested with IFN-γ in the QA programme, 92.2% were positive to the IFN-γ test. Among animals that were SICTT −ve/IFN-γ +ve, 18.9% were positive at post-mortem compared to 11.8% of those that were SICTT +ve (standard reactor)/IFN-γ −ve. These results highlight the risk associated with retaining SICTT −ve/IFN-γ +ve animals, and suggest that prompt removal of these animals is necessary to reduce the potential for future transmission.
      464Scopus© Citations 21
  • 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.
      418Scopus© Citations 4
  • 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.
      205Scopus© Citations 8
  • Publication
    Trends and predictors of large tuberculosis episodes in cattle herds in Ireland
    Persistence of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle is an important feature of Mycobacterium bovis infection, presenting either as herd recurrence or local persistence. One risk factor associated with the risk of recurrent episodes is the severity of a previous bTB episode (severity reflecting the number of bTB reactors identified during the episode). In this study, we have sought to identify predictors that can distinguish between small (less severe) and large (more severe) bTB episodes, and to describe nationally the severity of bTB episodes over time. The study included descriptive statistics of the proportion of episodes by severity from 2004 to 2015 and a case-control study. The case-control study population included all herds with at least one episode beginning in 2014 or 2015, with at least two full herd tests during the episode and a minimum herd-size of 60 animals. Case herds included study herds with at least 13 reactors whereas control herds had between 2 to 4 (inclusive) reactors during the first 2 tests of the episode. A logistic regression model was developed to identify risk factors associated with a large episode. Although there has been a general trend towards less severe herd bTB episodes in Ireland over time (2004-2015), the proportion of large episodes has remained relatively consistent. From the case-control study, the main predictors of a large episode were the year the episode started, increasing herd-size, previous exposure to bTB, increasing bTB incidence in the local area, an animal with a bTB lesion and a bTB episode in an associated herd. Herds that introduced more animals were more likely to have a smaller bTB episode, reflecting the reduced risk of within-herd transmission when an episode was due to an introduced infected bTB animal. Some of the risk factors identified in this study such as reactors in previous bTB episodes, herds with an associated herd undergoing a bTB episode, herds in high incidence areas etc. may help to target future policy measures to specific herds or animals for additional surveillance measures. This information has important policy implications.
      306Scopus© Citations 11
  • Publication
    Prevalence and distribution of paratuberculosis (johne's disease) in cattle herds in ireland
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2009) ; ; ;
    A simple random survey was conducted in Ireland during 2005 to estimate the ELISA-prevalence of paratuberculosis, commonly called Johne's disease (JD), in the cattle population. Serum samples were collected from all 20,322 females/breeding bulls over 12 months-of-age in 639 herds. All samples were tested using a commercially available absorbed ELISA. The overall prevalence of infected herds, based on the presence of at least one ELISA-positive animal, was 21.4% (95% CI 18.4%-24.9%). Herd prevalence levels amongst dairy herds (mean 31.5%; 95% CI: 24.6%, 39.3%) was higher than among beef herds (mean 17.9%; 95% CI: 14.6%-21.8%). However, the animal level prevalence was similar. The true prevalence among all animals tested, was calculated to be 2.86% (95%CI: 2.76, 2.97) and for animals >= 2 yrs, it was 3.30% (95%CI: 3.17, 3.43). For animals in beef herds, true prevalence was 3.09% (95%CI: 2.93, 3.24), and for those in dairy herds, 2.74% (95%CI: 2.59, 2.90). The majority of herds had only one ELISA-positive infected animal. Only 6.4% (95% CI 4.7%-8.7%) of all herds had more than one ELISA-positive infected animal; 13.3% (CI 8.7%-19.7%) of dairy herds ranging from two to eight ELISA-positive infected animals; and, 3.9% beef herds (CI 2.4%-6.2%) ranging from two to five ELISA-positive infected animals. The true prevalence of herds infected and shedding Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis is estimated to be 9.5% for all herd types; 20.6% for dairy herds; and 7.6% for beef herds. If ELISA positive animals <2-years-of-age are excluded, the true herd prevalene reduces to: 9.3% for all herd types; 19.6% for dairy herds; and 6.3% for beef herds based on a test specificity (Sp) of 99.8% and test sensitivity (Se) (i.e., ability to detect culture-positive, infected animals shedding at any level) of 27.8-28.9%.
      487Scopus© Citations 53