Now showing 1 - 10 of 22
  • 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.
      242Scopus© Citations 17
  • 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.
      305Scopus© Citations 19
  • Publication
    Tuberculosis in cattle: the results of the four-area project
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2005) ; ; ;
    The four-area project was undertaken to further assess the impact of badger removal on the control of tuberculosis in cattle herds in Ireland. It was conducted between 1997 and 2002 in matched removal and reference areas in four counties, namely Cork, Donegal, Kilkenny and Monaghan, representing a wide range of Irish farming environments. In the removal areas, a proactive programme of badger removal was conducted, on two or three occasions each year, whereas in the reference areas, badger removal was entirely reactive following severe outbreaks of tuberculosis amongst cattle. A detailed statistical analysis of this study has already been presented by Griffin et al. [13]; this paper presents further, mainly descriptive, findings from the study. In total, 2,360 badgers were captured in the removal areas of which 450 (19.5%) were considered positive for tuberculosis and 258 badgers were captured in the reference areas, with 57 (26.1%) positive for tuberculosis. The annual incidence of confirmed herd restrictions was lower in the removal area compared to the reference area in every year of the study period in each of the four counties. These empirical findings were consistent with the hazard ratios found by Griffin et al. [13]. Further, the effect of proactive badger removal on cattle tuberculosis in the four-area project and in the earlier east-Offaly project, as measured using the number of reactors per 1,000 cattle tested, were very similar, providing compelling evidence of the role of badgers in the epidemiology of tuberculosis in Irish cattle herds. The validity of the four-area project was discussed in detail. Efforts to minimise badger-to-cattle transmission in Ireland must be undertaken in association with the current comprehensive control programme, which has effectively minimised opportunities for cattle-to-cattle transmission.
      277Scopus© Citations 14
  • Publication
    Bovine viral diarrhoea virus seroprevalence and vaccination usage in dairy and beef herds in the Republic of Ireland
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2012) ; ; ;
    Background: Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) is an infectious disease of cattle with a worldwide distribution. Herd-level prevalence varies among European Union (EU) member states, and prevalence information facilitates decision-making and monitoring of progress in control and eradication programmes. The primary objective of the present study was to address significant knowledge gaps regarding herd BVD seroprevalence (based on pooled sera) and control on Irish farms, including vaccine usage. Methods: Preliminary validation of an indirect BVD antibody ELISA test (Svanova, Biotech AB, Uppsala, Sweden) using pooled sera was a novel and important aspect of the present study. Serum pools were constructed from serum samples of known seropositivity and pools were analysed using the same test in laboratory replicates. The output from this indirect ELISA was expressed as a percentage positivity (PP) value. Results were used to guide selection of a proposed cut-off (PCO) PP. This indirect ELISA was applied to randomly constructed within-herd serum pools, in a cross-sectional study of a stratified random sample of 1,171 Irish dairy and beef cow herds in 2009, for which vaccination status was determined by telephone survey. The herd-level prevalence of BVD in Ireland (percentage positive herds) was estimated in non-vaccinating herds, where herds were classified positive when herd pool result exceeded PCO PP. Vaccinated herds were excluded because of the potential impact of vaccination on herd classification status. Comparison of herd-level classification was conducted in a subset of 111 non-vaccinating dairy herds using the same ELISA on bulk milk tank (BMT) samples. Associations between possible risk factors (herd size (quartiles)) and herd-level prevalence were determined using chi-squared analysis. Results: Receiver Operating Characteristics Analysis of replicate results in the preliminary validation study yielded an optimal cut-off PP (Proposed Cut-off percentage positivity - PCO PP) of 7.58%. This PCO PP gave a relative sensitivity (Se) and specificity (Sp) of 98.57% and 100% respectively, relative to the use of the ELISA on individual sera, and was chosen as the optimal cut-off since it resulted in maximization of the prevalence independent Youden’s Index. The herd-level BVD prevalence in non-vaccinating herds was 98.7% (95% CI - 98.3-99.5%) in the cross-sectional study with no significant difference between dairy and beef herds (98.3% vs 98.8%, respectively, p = 0.595). An agreement of 95.4% was found on Kappa analysis of herd serological classification when bulk milk and serum pool results were compared in non-vaccinating herds. 19.2 percent of farmers used BVDV vaccine; 81% of vaccinated herds were dairy. A significant association was found between seroprevalence (quartiles) and herd size (quartiles) (p < 0.01), though no association was found between herd size (quartiles) and herd-level classification based on PCO (p = 0.548). Conclusions: The results from this study indicate that the true herd-level seroprevalence to Bovine Virus Diarrhoea (BVD) virus in Ireland is approaching 100%. The results of the present study will assist with national policy development, particularly with respect to the national BVD eradication programme which commenced recently.
      296Scopus© Citations 27
  • 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.
      295Scopus© Citations 3
  • 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%.
      410Scopus© Citations 49
  • Publication
    Eradicating BVD, reviewing Irish programme data and model predictions to support prospective decision making
    Bovine Viral Diarrhoea is an infectious production disease of major importance in many cattle sectors of the world. The infection is predominantly transmitted by animal contact. Postnatal infections are transient, leading to immunologically protected cattle. However, for a certain window of pregnancy, in utero infection of the foetus results in persistently infected (PI) calves being the major risk of BVD spread, but also an efficient target for controlling the infection. There are two acknowledged strategies to identify PI animals for removal: tissue tag testing (direct; also known as the Swiss model) and serological screening (indirect by interpreting the serological status of the herd; the Scandinavian model). Both strategies are effective in reducing PI prevalence and herd incidence. During the first four years of the Irish national BVD eradication programme (2013–16), it has been mandatory for all newborn calves to be tested using tissue tag testing. During this period, PI incidence has substantially declined. In recent times, there has been interest among stakeholders in a change to an indirect testing strategy, with potential benefit to the overall programme, particularly with respect to cost to farmers. Advice was sought on the usefulness of implementing the necessary changes. Here we review available data from the national eradication programme and strategy performance predictions from an expert system model to quantify expected benefits of the strategy change from strategic, budgetary and implementation points of view. Key findings from our work include (i) drawbacks associated with changes to programme implementation, in particular the loss of epidemiological information to allow real-time monitoring of eradication progress or to reliably predict time to eradication, (ii) the fact that only 25% of the herds in the Irish cattle sector (14% beef, 78% dairy herds) would benefit financially from a change to serosurveillance, with half of these participants benefiting by less than EUR 75 per annum at herd level or an average of EUR 1.22 per cow, and (iii) opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of the current programme, particularly in terms of time to eradication, through enforced compliance with PI removal as currently outlined in programme recommendations. The assembled information provides scientific arguments, contributing to an informed debate of the pros and cons of a change in eradication strategy in Ireland.
      492Scopus© Citations 30
  • Publication
    Potential infection-control benefit of measures to mitigate the risk posed by Trojan dams in the Irish BVD eradication programme
    In the epidemiology of Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD), Trojan dams (animals that are not persistently infected (PI) with BVD (BVDv) virus but carrying PI foetuses) are a vehicle through which infection can be transmitted. We investigated the degree to which restricting movement of cattle from BVDv infected herds would prevent Trojan births in other herds (effectiveness) and the extent to which this would reduce other, non-Trojan, movements (proportionality). We focussed on Irish herds with BVD + animal(s) present during 2014 and/or 2015. The effect of restricting movements of female animals over 12 months of age from these herds was compared with data collected on Trojan dams that calved in 2015. Four different potential restriction lengths were considered, varying from the period when a BVD + animal was present in the herd, to extending this to 12 months after removal of the last BVD + animal. In terms of effectiveness, none of the four restriction measures evaluated was effective at preventing the movement of all Trojan dams. Between 18.3% and 37.3% of Trojan births in 2015 would have been prevented under the proposed measures, and all Trojan births would have been prevented in between 14.4% and 32.5% of herds with BVD + births. In terms of proportionality, between 4.4% and 15.4% of all females > 12 months of age that moved between herds during 2015 would have been prevented from moving, and between 3.5% and 10.1% of Irish herds with at least one such movement would have been affected. These results show how measures to control the movement of Trojan dams should be targeted in a way that fits the Irish context and reduces the spread of BVDv, without unduly impacting other trade.
      234Scopus© Citations 5