Now showing 1 - 10 of 20
  • Publication
    A modelling framework for the prediction of the herd-level probability of infection from longitudinal data
    he collective control programmes (CPs) that exist for many infectious diseases of farm animals rely on the application of diagnostic testing at regular time intervals for the identification of infected animals or herds. The diversity of these CPs complicates the trade of animals between regions or countries because the definition of freedom from infection differs from one CP to another. In this paper, we describe a statistical model for the prediction of herd-level probabilities of infection from longitudinal data collected as part of CPs against infectious diseases of cattle. The model was applied to data collected as part of a CP against bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) infection in Loire-Atlantique, France. The model represents infection as a herd latent status with a monthly dynamics. This latent status determines test results through test sensitivity and test specificity. The probability of becoming status positive between consecutive months is modelled as a function of risk factors (when available) using logistic regression. Modelling is performed in a Bayesian framework, using either Stan or JAGS. Prior distributions need to be provided for the sensitivities and specificities of the different tests used, for the probability of remaining status positive between months as well as for the probability of becoming positive between months. When risk factors are available, prior distributions need to be provided for the coefficients of the logistic regression, replacing the prior for the probability of becoming positive. From these prior distributions and from the longitudinal data, the model returns posterior probability distributions for being status positive for all herds on the current month. Data from the previous months are used for parameter estimation. The impact of using different prior distributions and model implementations on parameter estimation was evaluated. The main advantage of this model is its ability to predict a probability of being status positive in a month from inputs that can vary in terms of nature of test, frequency of testing and risk factor availability/presence. The main challenge in applying the model to the BVDV CP data was in identifying prior distributions, especially for test characteristics, that corresponded to the latent status of interest, i.e. herds with at least one persistently infected (PI) animal. The model is available on Github as an R package (https://github.com/AurMad/STOCfree) and can be used to carry out output-based evaluation of disease CPs.
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  • Publication
    A survey of free-ranging deer in Ireland for serological evidence of exposure to bovine viral diarrhoea virus, bovine herpes virus-1, bluetongue virus and Schmallenberg virus
    Background: Deer are an important wildlife species in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland having colonised most regions across the island of Ireland. In comparison to cattle and sheep which represent the main farmed ruminant species on the island, there is a lack of data concerning their exposure, as measured by the presence of antibodies, to important viral pathogens of ruminants. A study was therefore undertaken to investigate the seroprevalence of wild deer to four viruses, namely bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV), bovine herpesvirus-1 (BoHV-1), Schmallenberg virus (SBV) and bluetongue virus (BTV). Results: Two panels of sera were assembled; Panel 1 comprised 259 samples (202 collected in the Republic of Ireland and 57 in Northern Ireland) between 2013 and 2015, while Panel 2 comprised 131 samples collected in the Republic of Ireland between 2014 and 2015. Overall sika deer (Cervus nippon) were sampled most commonly (54.8%), followed by fallow deer (Dama dama) (35.3%), with red deer (Cervus elaphus) (4.3%) and hybrid species (0.3%) sampled less frequently, with the species not being recorded for the remaining 5.3% of deer sampled. Age was not recorded for 96 of the 390 deer sampled. 196 of the remainder were adults, while 68 and 30 were yearlings and calves, respectively. Using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, true prevalence and 95% confidence intervals were calculated as 9.9%, (6.8-13.0% CI), SBV; 1.5% (0.1-3.0% CI), BoHV-1; 0.0%, 0-1.7% CI), BVDV; and 0.0%, (0.01-0.10% CI), BTV. Conclusions: The results indicate a very low seroprevalence for both BVDV and BoHV-1 in the wild deer tested within the study and, are consistent with a very low prevalence in Ireland. While serological cross-reaction with cervid herpesviruses cannot be excluded, the results in both cases suggest that the presence of these viruses in deer is not a significant risk to their control and eradication from the cattle population. This is important given the ongoing programme to eradicate BVDV in Ireland and deliberations on a national eradication programme for BoHV-1. The SBV results show consistency with those reported from cattle and sheep on the island of Ireland, while the BTV results are consistent with this virus remaining exotic to Ireland. The results provide a baseline against which future surveys of either wild or farmed/captive deer populations can be compared.
    Scopus© Citations 18  411
  • Publication
    Spatial and network characteristics of Irish cattle movements
    Our aim was to examine, for the first time, the spatial and network characteristics of cattle movements between herds in the Republic of Ireland (ROI), to inform policy and research of relevance to the surveillance and management of disease in Irish cattle. We analysed movements in 2016 as discrete herd to herd pairings (degree), herd to herd pairings by date of move (contacts) and herd to herd pairings by date and individual animal (transfers), and looked at each of these as movements out of a herd (out degree, out contacts, out transfers) and into a herd (in degree, in contacts, in transfers). We found that the frequency distributions, by herd, of these six move types were all heavily right skewed but in the case of the ‘out’ data types more closely followed a log-normal than the scale free distribution often reported for livestock movement data. For each distinct herd to herd contact in a given direction, over 90 % occurred only once, whereas the maximum number of occurrences was 62. Herd-level Spearman rank correlations between inward moves (represented as in degree, in contacts, in transfers) and outward moves (out degree, out contacts, out transfers) were weak or even negative whereas correlations between different measures of outward moves or inward moves (e.g. out degree vs. out contacts, in transfers vs. in degree) were stronger. Correlations between these variables and the network measure betweenness varied between r = 0.513 and r = 0.587. Some herds took part in a relatively large number of movements whilst also retaining their cattle for long periods (> 100 days) between moves. In and out degree, contacts and transfers were mapped across Ireland on a 5 km grid, and additionally normalized per 1000 animals and per herd. We found considerable variation in the number of movements by county. Approximately half of transfers were conducted within a single county, but the number and distance of between county movements varied considerably by county of origin and county of destination, with the proportion of moves completed within a single county correlated with its size. Herds exchanging cattle via a market were generally further apart than when moves were made directly herd to herd. For contacts, the distances moved away from the herd were on average greater for origin herds in the west of ROI whereas distances moved to a herd were generally greater for destination herds in the centre-east and the north-west.Our aim was to examine, for the first time, the spatial and network characteristics of cattle movements between herds in the Republic of Ireland (ROI), to inform policy and research of relevance to the surveillance and management of disease in Irish cattle. We analysed movements in 2016 as discrete herd to herd pairings (degree), herd to herd pairings by date of move (contacts) and herd to herd pairings by date and individual animal (transfers), and looked at each of these as movements out of a herd (out degree, out contacts, out transfers) and into a herd (in degree, in contacts, in transfers). We found that the frequency distributions, by herd, of these six move types were all heavily right skewed but in the case of the ‘out’ data types more closely followed a log-normal than the scale free distribution often reported for livestock movement data. For each distinct herd to herd contact in a given direction, over 90 % occurred only once, whereas the maximum number of occurrences was 62. Herd-level Spearman rank correlations between inward moves (represented as in degree, in contacts, in transfers) and outward moves (out degree, out contacts, out transfers) were weak or even negative whereas correlations between different measures of outward moves or inward moves (e.g. out degree vs. out contacts, in transfers vs. in degree) were stronger. Correlations between these variables and the network measure betweenness varied between r = 0.513 and r = 0.587. Some herds took part in a relatively large number of movements whilst also retaining their cattle for long periods (> 100 days) between moves. In and out degree, contacts and transfers were mapped across Ireland on a 5 km grid, and additionally normalized per 1000 animals and per herd. We found considerable variation in the number of movements by county. Approximately half of transfers were conducted within a single county, but the number and distance of between county movements varied considerably by county of origin and county of destination, with the proportion of moves completed within a single county correlated with its size. Herds exchanging cattle via a market were generally further apart than when moves were made directly herd to herd. For contacts, the distances moved away from the herd were on average greater for origin herds in the west of ROI whereas distances moved to a herd were generally greater for destination herds in the centre-east and the north-west.
      173Scopus© Citations 16
  • Publication
    Aspects of bovine herpesvirus 1 and bovine viral diarrhoea virus herd-level seroprevalence and vaccination in dairy and beef herds in Northern Ireland
    Background: Infections with bovine herpesvirus 1 (BoHV-1) and bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) virus cause diseases of cattle with a worldwide distribution. The primary objective of the present study was to describe aspects of herd-level BoHV-1 and BVDV seroprevalence (based on testing of pooled sera) and control on farms in Northern Ireland, including vaccine usage. An indirect antibody ELISA test (SVANOVA, Biotech AB, Uppsala, Sweden) was applied to serum pools which were constructed from serum samples taken for a cross-sectional study of a convenience sample of 500 Northern Irish dairy and beef cow herds in 2010, for which vaccination status was determined by telephone survey. The herd-level seroprevalence of BoHV-1 and BVDV in Northern Ireland was estimated in non-vaccinating herds and associations between possible risk factors (herd type and herd size (quartiles)) and herd-level prevalence were determined using chi-squared analysis. Results:The herd-level seroprevalence (of BoHV-1 and BVDV) in non-vaccinating herds was 77.3% (95% CI: 73.6-80.9%) and 98.4% (95% CI: 97.3-99.5%) respectively in the cross-sectional study. A significant difference existed in BoHV-1 herd-level seroprevalence between dairy and beef herds (74.7% vs 86.5% respectively; p < 0.02) though not for BVDV seroprevalence (98.5% vs 98.3% respectively; p > 0.91). A significant association was found between herd size (quartiles) and herd-level classification for BoHV-1 herd-level seroprevalence based on cut-off percentage positivity (COPP) (p < 0.01) while no such association was found for BVDV (p = 0.22). 15.5% and 23.8% of farmers used BoHV-1 and BVDV vaccines, respectively. BoHV-1 vaccine was used in 30% of dairy herds and in 11% of beef herds, while BVDV vaccine was used in 46% and 16% of dairy and beef herds, respectively. Conclusions: The results from this study indicate that the true herd-level seroprevalences to bovine herpesvirus 1 and bovine virus diarrhoea virus in non-vaccinating herds in Northern Northern Ireland are 77.3% (95% CI: 73.6-80.9%) and 98.4% (95% CI: 97.3-99.5%), respectively. The present study will assist in guiding regional policy development and establish a baseline against which the progress of current and future control and eradication programmes can be measured.
      339Scopus© Citations 16
  • Publication
    STOC Free: An Innovative Framework to Compare Probability of Freedom From Infection in Heterogeneous Control Programmes
    The existence, stage of eradication and design of control programmes (CPs) for diseases that are not regulated by the EU differ between Member States. When freedom from infection is reached (or being pursued), safe trade is essential to protect (or reach) that status. The aim of STOC free, a collaborative project between six countries, is to develop and validate a framework that enables a transparent and standardized comparison of confidence of freedom for CPs across herds, regions or countries. The framework consists of a model combined with a tool to facilitate the collection of the necessary parameters. All relevant actions taken in a CP are included in a Bayesian network model, which allows prior distributions for most parameters. In addition, frequency of occurrence and risk estimates for factors that influence either the probability of introduction or temporary misclassification leading to delayed detection of the infection are included in the model. Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) is used as an example disease. Many countries have CPs in place for BVDV and although elements of the CPs are similar, biosecurity measures and testing protocols, including types of tests and testing frequency, as well as target groups, differ widely. Although the initially developed framework is based on BVDV, the aim is to make it sufficiently generic to be adaptable to CPs for other diseases and possibly other species. Thus, STOC free will result in a single general framework, adaptable to multiple disease CPs, which aims to enhance the safety of trade.
      238Scopus© Citations 9
  • Publication
    Temporal trends in the retention of BVD+ calves and associated animal and herd-level risk factors during the compulsory eradication programme in Ireland
    The national BVD eradication programme in Ireland started on a voluntary basis in 2012, becoming compulsory in 2013. The programme relies on accurate identification and prompt removal of BVD+ calves. However, a minority of herd owners have chosen to retain BVD+ animals (defined as still being alive more than seven weeks after the date of the initial test), typically with a view to fattening them to obtain some salvage value. During each year of the programme, additional measures have been introduced and implemented to encourage prompt removal of BVD+ animals. The objective of this study was to describe temporal trends in the retention of BVD+ calves and associated animal and herd-level risk factors during the first three years of the compulsory eradication programme in Ireland. The study population included all BVD+ calves born in Ireland in 2013–2015. A parametric survival model was developed to model the time from the initial BVD test until the animal was slaughtered/died on farm or until 31 December 2015 (whichever was earlier). A total of 29,504 BVD+ animals, from 13,917 herds, were included in the study. The proportion of BVD+ animals that were removed from the herd within 7 weeks of the initial test date increased from 43.7% in 2013 to 70.3% in 2015. BVD+ animals born in 2015 had a much lower survival time (median = 33 days) compared to the 2013 birth cohort (median = 62 days), with a year on year reduction in survival of BVD+ calves. In the initial parametric survival models, all interactions with herd type were significant. Therefore, separate models were developed for beef and dairy herds. Overall the results of the survival models were similar, with birth year, BVD+ status, herd size, county of birth and birth month consistently identified as risk factors independent of herd type (beef or dairy) or the numbers of BVD+ animals (single or multiple) in the herd. In addition, the presence of a registered mobile telephone number was identified as a risk factor in all models except for dairy herds with a single BVD+, while the sex of the BVD+ calf was only identified as a risk factor in this model. Significant progress has been made in addressing the issue of retention of BVD+ calves, however, there is a need for further improvement. A number of risk factors associated with retention have been identified suggesting areas where future efforts can be addressed.
      446Scopus© Citations 17
  • Publication
    The Irish Programme to Eradicate Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus—Organization, Challenges, and Progress
    A mandatory national Irish bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) eradication programme, coordinated by Animal Health Ireland, commenced in 2013. Key decisions and programme review are undertaken by a cross-industry Implementation Group (BVDIG) supported by a Technical Working Group. Ear notch tissue is collected from all new-born calves using modified official identity tags, supplemented by additional blood sampling, including for confirmatory testing of calves with initial positive results and testing of their dams. Testing is delivered by private laboratories in conjunction with the National Reference Laboratory, with all results reported to a central database. This database manages key elements of the programme, issuing results to herdowners by short message service messaging supplemented by letters; assigning and exchanging animal-level statuses with government databases of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to enable legislated restrictions on animal movements; assigning negative herd status based on test results; generating regular reports for programme management and evaluation and providing herd-specific dashboards for a range of users. Legislation supporting the programme has been in place throughout but has not thus far mandated the slaughter of persistently infected (PI) calves. A key challenge in the early years, highlighted by modeling, was the retention of PI animals by some herd owners. This has largely been resolved by measures including graduated financial supports to encourage their early removal, herd-level movement restrictions, ongoing programme communications and the input of private veterinary practitioners (PVPs). A framework for funded investigations by PVPs in positive herds was developed to identify plausible sources of infection, to resolve the status of all animals in the herd and to agree up to three measures to prevent re-introduction of the virus. The prevalence of PI calves in 2013 was 0.66%, within 11.3% of herds, reducing in each subsequent year, to 0.03 and 0.55%, respectively, at the end of 2020. Recent regulatory changes within the European Union for the first time make provision for official approval of national eradication programmes, or recognition of BVD freedom, and planning is underway to seek approval and, in due course, recognition of freedom within this framework by 2023.
      280Scopus© Citations 9
  • 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.
      555Scopus© Citations 45
  • 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.
      223Scopus© Citations 3
  • Publication
    A review of bovine Johne's disease control activities in 6 endemically infected countries
    Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) is endemic in the bovine populations of many countries and can cause a significant reduction in animal welfare and production efficiency making control desirable. Effective control has proved very difficult to achieve despite multiple regionally coordinated programmes being in existence since the 1920s. The international community increasingly recognises the value in learning from the collective experiences of existing programmes to improve the effectiveness of control. The aim of this review is to outline key aspects of bovine Johne's disease control activities across 6 endemically infected countries to facilitate comparison of current international practice. The background, control activities and monitoring components of programmes in Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States of America were individually reviewed. Factual accuracy of each review was checked by individuals involved in the respective programmes before the reviews were condensed and combined into a single document presented here, with the complete reviews of each programme available as supplementary material. There was considerable heterogeneity in key aspects of control activity design including goals, responses to declining participation, herd classification, recommended control measures and associated test requirements. The data presented will be of interest to organisations that are involved in developing new or existing regionally coordinated BJD control activities.
      366Scopus© Citations 100