The transmission and control of mastitis in dairy cows: a theoretical approach.
White LJ., Lam TJ., Schukken YH., Green LE., Medley GF., Chappell MJ.
A multi-species model that incorporates the transmission of both major and minor mastitis pathogens as well as the interaction between them via coinfection of a quarter is fitted to data from seven dairy herds. The results suggest that major and minor pathogens can interact, on occasion, in a counter-intuitive way with implications for the control of clinical mastitis. The key finding is that delaying culling of cows with major pathogen infections for more than 100 days post infection could result in a higher prevalence of major pathogen infections, whereas early culling would reduce the levels. A theoretical exploration of current and proposed control strategies is carried out, informed by parameters estimated from the model and data. The results at each stage suggest of areas of further research such as: field-testing of the hypotheses presented; the exploration of a stochastic formulation of the model; analysis of the raw repeated measures data; application of control theory to determine the most effective combination of control strategies; inclusion of economic factors into the modelling framework.