Johne's disease (JD) is an infectious, progressive, gastrointestinal disease affecting ruminants. Calves are mostly infected in their first six months of life, or in utero. We investigated the impact of specific periparturient management practices on within-herd JD prevalence and economic losses foregone in UK dairy herds by means of data synthesis (systematic appraisal of published evidence and expert elicitation) and use of a pre-existing simulation model. Our results show the scarcity of accurate estimates of the impact of specific periparturient management practices on within-herd JD prevalence, which could, in part, be explained by challenges associated with the chronic nature of JD. Management practices aiming to limit the faecal-oral transmission route of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) were found to be most effective at reducing within-herd prevalence of JD. Practices aiming to limit MAP transmission via colostrum and milk were found to be less effective. Losses foregone for a hypothetical herd of 200 milking cows were considerable; based on the assumptions, it is reasonable to expect between £7000 and £11,000 of losses foregone when management practices are implemented as a package of measures. The findings of this study are envisaged to enable farmers and veterinarians to make more informed decisions on changes to periparturient management to control JD.
- Mycobacterium avium
- Dairy cattle
- Preventive medicine
- Accepted May 31, 2013.
- British Veterinary Association
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