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Objectives—To assess the sensitivity of the current surveillance program used in Denmark for detecting outbreaks of infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) at the herd level and to evaluate the impact of alternative sample collection strategies on the sensitivity of the system in an acceptable time frame.

Sample Population—Data from the Danish Central Husbandry Register on cattle of 24,355 and 25,233 beef herds and on 13,034 and 12,003 dairy herds in the years 2000 and 2001, respectively.

Procedures—Surveillance programs were evaluated under current sample collection conditions and under 3 alternative scenarios by use of simulation modeling. Data from the current detection component of the surveillance system were used as input, taking into consideration the sensitivity and specificity of bulktank milk and serologic testing.

Results—The current system identifies infected dairy herds within a 3-month period with desired accuracy largely because of the test characteristics and number of bulk-tank milk samples. The system is less likely to detect infected beef herds in a timely manner because surveillance in beef herds depends solely on serologic testing at the time of slaughter. The efficiency of surveillance in dairy cattle herds was not decreased substantially when the slaughter-surveillance component was omitted.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Geographically targeted sample collection during the high-risk season (winter) was predicted to increase the probability of rapid detection of IBR infection in cattle. This approach can be used for assessing other surveillance systems to determine the best strategies for detection of infected herds. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:2149–2153)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research