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Environmental sample characteristics and herd size associated with decreased herd-level prevalence of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis

Corbett, Caroline S., Naqvi, S.Ali, De Buck, Jeroen, Kanevets, Uliana, Kastelic, John P., Barkema, Herman W.
Journal of dairy science 2018 v.101 no.9 pp. 8092-8099
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, cows, dairy farming, farms, free stalls, herd size, lactation, loose housing, regression analysis, Saskatchewan
Environmental sampling is an effective method for estimating regional dairy herd-level prevalence of infection with Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP). However, factors affecting prevalence estimates based on environmental samples are not known. The objective was to determine whether odds of environmental samples collected on farm changed culture status over 2 sampling times and if changes were specific for location and type of housing (freestall, tiestall, or loose housing), the sample collected (i.e., manure of lactating, dry, or sick cows; namely, cow group), and effects of herd size. In 2012–2013 [sampling 1 (S1)] and 2015–2017 [sampling 2 (S2)], 6 environmental samples were collected and cultured for MAP from all 167 (99%) and 160 (95%) farms, respectively, in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. Only the 148 dairy farms sampled at both sampling periods were included in the analysis. A mixed effects logistic regression was used to determine whether differences between sampling periods were associated with herd size and sample characteristics (cow group contributing to environmental sample, type of housing, and location). In S1 and S2, 55 and 34%, respectively, of farms had at least 1 MAP-positive environmental sample. Correcting for sensitivity of environmental sampling, estimated true prevalence in S1 and S2 was 79 and 48%, respectively. Herds with >200 cows were more often MAP-positive than herds with <51 cows in both S1 and S2. The percentage of positive samples was lower in S2 compared with S1 for all sampled areas, cow groups contributing to samples, types of housing where samples were collected, and herd size categories. However, samples collected from dry cow areas had the largest decrease in MAP-positive samples in S2 compared with all other cow group samples. Herds that were MAP-negative in S1 with a herd size 51 to 100 or 101 to 150 were more likely to stay MAP-negative, whereas MAP-positive herds with >200 cows more frequently stayed MAP-positive. No difference was observed in the odds of a sample being MAP-positive among housing types or location of sample collection in both sample periods. Of all farms sampled, 104 (70%) did not change status from S1 to S2. In conclusion, when herd-level MAP prevalence decreased over the 3-yr interval, the change in prevalence differed among herd size categories and was larger in samples from dry cow areas. It was, however, not specific to other characteristics of environmental samples collected.