We describe a new mechanistic bioeconomic model for simulating the spread of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) within a dairy cattle herd. The model includes age-dependent susceptibility for infection; age-dependent sensitivity for detection; environmental MAP build up in five separate areas of the farm; in utero infection; infection via colostrum and waste milk, and it allows for realistic culling (i.e., due to other diseases) by including a ranking system. We calibrated the model using a unique dataset from Denmark, including 102 random farms with no control actions against spread of MAP. Likewise, four control actions recommended in the Danish MAP control program were implemented in the model based on reported management strategies in Danish dairy herds in a MAP control scheme. We tested the model parameterization in a sensitivity analysis. We show that a test-and-cull strategy is on average the most cost-effective solution to decrease the prevalence and increase the total net revenue on a farm with low hygiene, but not more profitable than no control strategy on a farm with average hygiene. Although it is possible to eradicate MAP from the farm by implementing all four control actions from the Danish MAP control program, it was not economically attractive since the expenses for the control actions outweigh the benefits. Furthermore, the three most popular control actions against the spread of MAP on the farm were found to be costly and inefficient in lowering the prevalence when used independently.
Kirkeby, C. T., Græsbøll, K., Nielsen, S. S., Christiansen, L. E., Toft, N., Rattenborg, E., & Hisham Beshara Halasa, T. (2016). Simulating the Epidemiological and Economic Impact of Paratuberculosis Control Actions in Dairy Cattle. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 3. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2016.00090