3 years ago

Incidence of fecal excretion of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in dairy cows before and after the enrolment in the Québec Voluntary Program

Paratuberculosis is a chronic and contagious enteric disease of ruminants caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP). This disease of worldwide distribution is responsible for significant economic losses and the bacteria itself has been linked to human Crohn’s disease. Paratuberculosis control programs focus on reducing MAP transmission by implementing better management practices that target infection routes. In Québec, a Voluntary Paratuberculosis Prevention and Control Program (QVPPCP) was launched in 2007. The objectives of this prospective cohort study were threefold. The first was to describe the changes in the incidence of fecal excretion of MAP in cows born before and after farm enrolment in the QVPPCP. The second was to estimate the impact of the risk of within-herd transmission of MAP (measured by the risk assessment score (RAS)) on the incidence of fecal excretion of MAP. And the third was to evaluate the impact of calf rearing practices on the incidence of fecal excretion of MAP. Eighteen MAP-positive herds were visited annually from 2011 to 2015. At each visit, individual fecal samples from all adult cows were collected. MAP was cultured using liquid media and an automated system. A risk assessment questionnaire was completed upon enrolment in the QVPPCP and at each visit. The RAS of the farm was attributed to each cow according to its birthdate. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the hazard ratios (HR) for the exposure variables. Herd clustering was taken into account using robust standard errors. A total of 2158 cows were included (cohort born before n =919; cohort born after n =1239). The incidence and hazard of fecal excretion were significantly lower for the cohort-after than the cohort-before (incidence rate ratio=0.38; 95% CI: 0.18-0.78 and HR=0.48; 95% CI: 0.23-0.98). The HR of fecal excretion for cows exposed to a high RAS was 2.20 times (95% CI: 1.21-3.99) that of cows exposed to a low RAS. Poor calving cow hygiene (HR=3.41; 95% CI: 1.40-8.31) and contact between pre-weaned heifers and adult cows or their feces were significantly associated with an increased hazard of fecal excretion of MAP (HR=2.66; 95% CI: 1.08-6.56). Our results suggest that enrolment in the QVPPCP reduces the risk of MAP fecal excretion. They support the hypothesis that contact between calves and adult cows or their feces increases MAP transmission. The incidence results also suggest that MAP prevalence could be reduced to low levels regardless of initial MAP prevalence.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S016758771730483X

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