Veterinary Epidemiology Unit

Belfast, United States

Veterinary Epidemiology Unit

Belfast, United States
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Verdugo C.,Austral University of Chile | Verdugo C.,Massey University | Jones G.,Massey University | Johnson W.,University of California at Irvine | And 4 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2014

The study aimed to estimate the national- and island-level flock/herd true prevalence (HTP) of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) infection in pastoral farmed sheep, beef cattle and deer in New Zealand. A random sample of 238 single- or multi-species farms was selected from a postal surveyed population of 1940 farms. The sample included 162 sheep flocks, 116 beef cattle and 99 deer herds from seven of 16 geographical regions. Twenty animals from each species present on farm were randomly selected for blood and faecal sampling. Pooled faecal culture testing was conducted using a single pool (sheep flocks) or two pools (beef cattle/deer herds) of 20 and 10 samples per pool, respectively. To increase flock/herd-level sensitivity, sera from all 20 animals from culture negative flocks/herds were individually tested by Pourquier® ELISA (sheep and cattle) or Paralisa™ (deer). Results were adjusted for sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic tests using a novel Bayesian latent class model. Outcomes were adjusted by their sampling fractions to obtain HTP estimates at national level. For each species, the posterior probability (POPR) of HTP differences between New Zealand North (NI) and South (SI) Islands was obtained.Across all species, 69% of farms had at least one species test positive. Sheep flocks had the highest HTP estimate (76%, posterior probability interval (PPI) 70-81%), followed by deer (46%, PPI 38-55%) and beef herds (42%, PPI 35-50%). Differences were observed between the two main islands of New Zealand, with higher HTP in sheep and beef cattle flocks/herds in the NI. Sheep flock HTP was 80% in the NI compared with 70% (POPR. =. 0.96) in the SI, while the HTP for beef cattle was 44% in the NI and 38% in the SI (POPR. =. 0.80). Conversely, deer HTP was higher in the SI (54%) than the NI (33%, POPR. =. 0.99). Infection with MAP is endemic at high prevalence in sheep, beef cattle and deer flocks/herds across New Zealand. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Oosterlinck M.,Ghent University | Pille F.,Ghent University | Back W.,Ghent University | Back W.,University Utrecht | And 2 more authors.
Veterinary Journal | Year: 2010

Subtle lameness in horses may be difficult to diagnose and methods to evaluate lameness objectively are useful when equine clinicians fail to reach a consensus. The aim of this study was to determine whether equine pressure plate measurements are repeatable when used to calculate forelimb loading (peak vertical pressure [PVP], peak vertical force [PVF], vertical impulse [VI]) and symmetry ratios, and to establish if these data are similar to the 'gold standard' force plate values. Since plate dimensions are relatively small, ponies were used to enable recordings to be taken from both forelimbs in one trial. Five sound ponies were walked and trotted over a pressure plate which was embedded in a custom-made runway. For each pony, five valid trials were recorded during two different days. A trial was considered valid if complete prints of both fore hooves were recorded consecutively and if velocity was within a preset range. The PVP, PVF and VI values showed an acceptable variability (CV ≤ 16%), with PVF (130% of bodyweight [BW], n = 5) similar to previously reported force plate data (128% BW, n = 48). Mean symmetry ratios appeared to be high (>95%) and showed a low variability (CV < 5%). The stand-alone pressure plate permitted adequate registration of forelimb PVF, VI and limb symmetry with a high level of precision in sound ponies. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PubMed | Veterinary Epidemiology Unit, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover and University of Pretoria
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Epidemiology and infection | Year: 2016

In 2003/2004 a field trial was conducted in Northern Ireland to assess the diagnostic accuracy of six serological tests for bovine brucellosis caused by Brucella abortus. Whereas between-test comparisons have been used to calculate test performances so far, the present study used a latent class approach to estimate diagnostic test accuracy parameters in the absence of a gold standard for these six tests simultaneously and to estimate the true prevalence, while accounting for clustering in the study population and risk factors for true prevalence. Results obtained in this study with regard to prevalence, sensitivity and specificity were largely in accordance with previous findings. Screening tests (SAT and EDTA) appeared to be the most sensitive; however, at low prevalences the EDTA and CFT showed the highest positive predictive values of all investigated tests. The specificities and negative predictive values of all diagnostic tests were found to be very high. Differences of prevalence between three groups of the study population with different risk of exposure could be attributed to the mode of sampling indicating that a more risk-based sampling will result in a higher prevalence than a cross-sectional sampling mode. Age, dairy status and history of abortion were shown to influence the prediction of the latent true infection status.

PubMed | Veterinary Epidemiology Unit, Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland, Roslin Institute, Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture and Animal and Plant Health Agency
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2016

Canine adenovirus type 1 (CAV-1) causes infectious canine hepatitis (ICH), a frequently fatal disease which primarily affects canids. In this study, serology (ELISA) and molecular techniques (PCR/qPCR) were utilised to investigate the exposure of free-ranging red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) to CAV-1 in the United Kingdom (UK) and to examine their role as a wildlife reservoir of infection for susceptible species. The role of canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2), primarily a respiratory pathogen, was also explored. In foxes with no evidence of ICH on post-mortem examination, 29 of 154 (18.8%) red foxes had inapparent infections with CAV-1, as detected by a nested PCR, in a range of samples, including liver, kidney, spleen, brain, and lung. CAV-1 was detected in the urine of three red foxes with inapparent infections. It was estimated that 302 of 469 (64.4%) red foxes were seropositive for canine adenovirus (CAV) by ELISA. CAV-2 was not detected by PCR in any red foxes examined. Additional sequence data were obtained from CAV-1 positive samples, revealing regional variations in CAV-1 sequences. It is concluded that CAV-1 is endemic in free-ranging red foxes in the UK and that many foxes have inapparent infections in a range of tissues.

Robinson P.A.,Veterinary Epidemiology Unit | Corner L.A.L.,University College Dublin | Courcier E.A.,Veterinary Epidemiology Unit | McNair J.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland | And 3 more authors.
Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases | Year: 2012

Tuberculosis (TB) is a significant animal health problem in many parts of the world, and reservoirs of infection in wild animals complicate disease control efforts in farmed livestock, particularly cattle. Badgers (Meles meles) are a significant wildlife reservoir of Mycobacterium bovis infection for cattle in the United Kingdom (UK) and Republic of Ireland (ROI). Vaccination of badgers using an M. bovis strain bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine could potentially be an option in the national TB eradication strategy. Wildlife vaccination has been used successfully for other diseases in wildlife species, and may have a role to play in reducing M. bovis transmission at the wildlife-livestock interface. Research to date has provided evidence that BCG is protective in badgers, and a parenteral badger BCG vaccine has been licensed in the UK. Further research is required to develop effective strategies for vaccine deployment and to determine the effect of badger vaccination on cattle TB incidence. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Mccaughey C.,Royal Victoria Hospital | Murray L.J.,Queen's University of Belfast | Mckenna J.P.,Royal Victoria Hospital | Menzies F.D.,Veterinary Epidemiology Unit | And 5 more authors.
Epidemiology and Infection | Year: 2010

Human cases of Q fever appear to be common in Northern Ireland compared to the rest of the British Isles. The purpose of this study was to describe the seroepidemiology of Coxiella burnetii infection in cattle in Northern Ireland in terms of seroprevalence and determinants of infection. A total of 5182 animals (from a stratified systematic random sample of 273 herds) were tested with a commercial C. burnetii phase 2 IgG ELISA. A total of 62% of animals and 484% of herds tested positively. Results from a multilevel logistic regression model indicated that the odds of cattle being infected with Q fever increased with age, Friesian breed, being from large herds and from dairy herds. Large dairy herd animal prevalence was 125% compared to 21% for small beef herds. Preliminary seroprevalence in sheep (123%), goats (93%), pigs (0%) rats (97%) and mice (32%) using indirect immunofluorescence is reported. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009.

Abernethy D.A.,Veterinary Epidemiology Unit | Moscard-Costello J.,Mall West | Dickson E.,Mall West | Harwood R.,Mall West | And 4 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2011

An epidemiological investigation was undertaken of 41 bovine brucellosis outbreaks that occurred within a 10-month period, in a region where eradication measures appeared to be succeeding. The primary outbreak comprised three herds with significant within-herd spread and a high probability of multiple abortions. Direct contact between cattle at pasture was the most likely means of between-herd transmission for most (71%) outbreaks, with an attack rate of 28.1% in herds immediately neighbouring the primary outbreak herds and 11.3% in the next concentric ring of farms. Resolution of the incident was attributed to a rapid response by the veterinary authorities, detailed epidemiological investigations, repeated, prolonged testing of contact herds and employment of parallel testing. © 2010.

PubMed | Veterinary Epidemiology Unit and Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland
Type: | Journal: Preventive veterinary medicine | Year: 2016

This study investigated 8058 bovine tuberculosis (bTB) confirmed breakdowns occurring in Northern Ireland during the period 2005-2010 inclusive. The methodology used two case-control studies; one determined the risk factors associated with long duration bTB breakdowns and the other with recurrent bTB breakdowns. The analyses were implemented using a generalized linear mixed model analysis with variables relating to repeated measures on herds, locality and year of breakdown included as random effects. The case definition for long duration breakdowns (n=679) was any confirmed bTB disclosure with duration greater than one year. The case definition for recurrent breakdowns (n=657) was any confirmed bTB disclosure with duration less than one year, followed by two or more bTB breakdowns within 2 years from the end of the initial bTB breakdown. In the multivariable model based on duration of bTB breakdowns, significant factors were local area bTB prevalence, number of associated cattle herds, total years restricted in the previous five years, total number of bTB reactors during the breakdown and the presence of a bTB lesion at routine slaughter (LRS). The number of bTB reactors at the disclosing test was also significant; with increased numbers associated to reduced odds of a long duration breakdown. In the second analysis based on recurrence of bTB breakdowns, high local area prevalence, movement intensity into the herd, total years restricted in the previous five years, herd size, total number of TB reactors during the restricted breakdown and presence of a LRS were all statistically significant.

PubMed | Veterinary Epidemiology Unit, Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland, Surveillance and Antimicrobial Resistance and Animal and Plant Health Agency
Type: | Journal: Epidemiology and infection | Year: 2016

Post-mortem examination continues to play an important surveillance role in the bovine tuberculosis (bTB) eradication programme in Northern Ireland. It is estimated that 18-28% of new bTB herd breakdowns are disclosed by the detection of bTB lesions in animals routinely slaughtered. The purpose of this study was to compare the performance of different slaughterhouses in Northern Ireland in detecting bTB-lesioned animals at routine slaughter (LRS) and to apply the findings to maximize the sensitivity of bTB slaughterhouse surveillance. Univariate statistical analysis on cattle slaughtered in Northern Ireland during 2011-2013 revealed that the risk of LRS disclosure varied between slaughterhouses, ranging from 008% to 054%. Furthermore, the risk of confirmation of these LRS as bTB varied between slaughterhouses, ranging from 579% to 724%. Logistic regression modelling of selected risk factors found that the risk of LRS disclosure increased with age, and was higher in purchased animals, during winter months, in animals coming from high bTB incidence areas and in animals slaughtered from herds with a bTB restriction in the last 2-3 years. Adjusting for these selected factors, the risk of LRS disclosure and bTB confirmation changed very little from the univariable analysis, suggesting that differences in disclosure risks between slaughterhouses were likely to be due to factors related to the slaughterhouses, rather than to the risk status of the animals presented. Examination of procedures within these slaughterhouses is recommended to identify ways that could increase the sensitivity of their bTB surveillance.

PubMed | Veterinary Epidemiology Unit and Agri food and Biosciences Institute
Type: | Journal: Veterinary research | Year: 2015

Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), caused by Mycobacterium bovis, is a serious infectious disease that remains an ongoing concern for cattle farming worldwide. Tuberculin skin-tests are often used to identify infected animals (reactors) during test-and-cull programs, however, due to relatively poor sensitivity, additional tests can be implemented in parallel. For example, in Northern Ireland interferon-gamma (IFN-g) testing is used in high-risk herds. However, skin-test negative animals which are positive to the IFN-g test are not required by law to be slaughtered - therefore the final choice for these animals fate is left with the owner. During this study we investigated whether these animals represented a greater risk of becoming a skin reactor, relative to IFN-g test negative animals from the same herds. Our study population included 1107 IFN-g positive animals from 239 herds. A Cox-proportional hazard model indicated that animals which tested IFN-g positive were 2.31 times (95% CI: 1.92-2.79; P<0.001) more likely to become a reactor compared with IFN-g negative animals. Animals from dairy herds, and from herds in the south-east, were of higher risk than animals from beef herds and other regions, respectively. Our findings suggest that IFN-g positive animals represent a higher risk of failing a skin-test in the future, indicating the value of IFN-g testing for identifying early-stage infected animals. These IFN-g positive animals are not under any disease restriction, and may move freely (trade), which may put recipient herds at increased risk. Our findings provide important evidence for stakeholders engaged in bTB eradication programs.

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