Evaluating the impact of transmission mode, calibration level and farmer compliance in simulation models of paratuberculosis in dairy herds

Carsten Thure Kirkeby*, Kaare Græsbøll, Tariq Halasa

*Corresponding author for this work

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Simulation models can predict the outcome of different strategies for the control and eradication of paratuberculosis (PTB) in dairy herds. Two main transmission modes have previously been used to simulate the spread of PTB: direct (contact between animals) and indirect (through the environment). In addition, previous models were calibrated to either low or high within-herd prevalence levels, which we refer to as normal and low hygiene levels, respectively. We simulated both direct and indirect transmission with the same model in both normal and low hygiene level scenarios. The effectiveness of a test-and-cull strategy was dependent on the calibration level of the simulation model, and eradication occurred less frequently with the more biologically plausible indirect transmission mode. The results were compared to within-herd prevalence records from 314 dairy herds. The prevalence in 50% of the herds varied less than 0.9% per year on average, and less than 4% in 90% of the herds. We therefore conclude that the normal-hygiene scenario best describes most dairy herds in Denmark. Finally, we simulated different levels of farmer compliance with a test-and-cull strategy and found that a 60% compliance level was not sufficient to reach eradication within 10 years.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9100
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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