Ausvet consultants just published a new peer-reviewed article in the scientific press. The article, titled ‘Modeling of alternative testing strategies to demonstrate freedom from Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection in test-negative dairy herds in the Republic of Ireland’, is freely available in the Journal of Dairy Science:
Animal Health Ireland has been leading a voluntary program aiming at controlling Johne’s disease in the Irish dairy industry since 2013. In 2017, building on a long-standing collaboration with AHI, Ausvet consultants were asked to analyze the existing data and provide evidence to assist decision-making on the future direction of the control program. The study, based on a freedom methodology previously developed here at Ausvet, estimated the costs and effectiveness of various milk and serum testing strategies. Careful analysis of the results of this work will be conducted by Animal Health Ireland in order to adapt the control program methodology.
About the disease
Johne’s disease, caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis infection, is a debilitating disease of cattle, affecting animal health and productivity. The disease is present in many countries worldwide, such as the USA, some parts of Australia, and several European countries. The bacterium is also an undesirable milk contaminant and is therefore of concern for dairy producers.
The disease is difficult to eradicate in affected cattle herds, as treatment is ineffective and vaccination only provides limited protection. In addition, animals may be infected for many years before showing any disease sign, and available tests to detect infection are lacking in accuracy. Consequently, disease control generally relies on finding infected animals by repeatedly testing the entire herd or a subset of it, culling positive animals, and protecting calves from acquiring the infection.