Survival analysis of factors affecting incidence risk of Salmonella Dublin in Danish dairy herds during a 7-year surveillance period

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

A national surveillance programme for Salmonella Dublin, based on regular bulk-tank milk antibody screening and movements of cattle, was initiated in Denmark in 2002. From 2002 to end of 2009 the prevalence of test-positive dairy herds was reduced from 26% to 10%. However, new infections and spread of S. Dublin between herds continued to occur.
The objective of this study was to investigate factors affecting incidence risk of S. Dublin infection in Danish dairy herds between 2003 and 2009. Herds were considered at risk when they had been test-negative for at least four consecutive year-quarters (YQs), either at the start of the study period or after recovery from infection. Survival analysis was performed on a dataset including 6931 dairy herds with 118969 YQs at risk, in which 1523 failures (new infection events) occurred. Predictors obtained from register data were tested in a multivariable, proportional hazard model allowing for recurrence within herds.
During October to December the hazard of failures was higher (hazard ratio HR=3.4, P=0.0005) than the rest of the year. Accounting for the delay in bulk-tank milk antibody responses to S. Dublin infection, this indicates that introduction of bacteria was most frequent between July and October. Purchase from test-positive cattle herds within the previous 6 months was associated with higher hazard of failures (HR=2.5, P<0.0001) compared to no purchase and purchase from test-negative herds. Increasing local prevalence, herd size and bulk-tank milk somatic cell counts were also associated with increasing hazard of failures. The effect of prior infection was time-dependent; the hazard of failures was reduced following a logarithmic decline with increasing time at risk. The hazard was markedly higher in herds with prior infections the first year after becoming at risk again, and then approached the hazard in herds without known prior infections 2 to 3 years after becoming test-negative. This showed that herds with prior infections need to maintain a high level of biosecurity for at least 3 years after becoming test-negative for S. Dublin to prevent recurrence. Furthermore, general recommendations for dairy herds wishing to protect their herds against S. Dublin include avoidance of purchase from and contact to test-positive herds. Large herds, herds with test-positive neighbours and herds with high somatic cell counts need to obtain and maintain a high level of biosecurity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)160-169
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ID: 38227505