Transmission dynamics of intramammary infections caused by Corynebacterium species
G. Dalen, A. Rachah, H. Nørstebø, Y. H. Schukken, Y. T. Gröhn, J. W. Barlow, O. Reksen
The development of reliable models for transmission of intramammary infections (IMI) is the subject of extensive research. Such models are useful to enhance the identification and understanding of factors that affect pathogen-specific IMI dynamics. Longitudinal transmission models are valuable for predicting infection outbreak risks, quantifying the effectiveness of response tactics, and performing response planning. In this work, we focused on modeling Corynebacterium spp. by using a compartmental model. Previous investigations have considered modeling the transmission dynamics of several bacterial pathogens, but not Corynebacterium spp. We established a Corynebacterium spp. Susceptible–Infectious–Susceptible (SIS) model. We simulated the model numerically by using parameters that we estimated by a generalized linear model approach, using month of study as the time variable. The data, from which the parameters of the model were estimated, were obtained in a field trial conducted in 2 US dairy herds. Altogether, 786 cows were sampled at least once during the 13-mo study period. The total number of quarter milk cultures and cases of IMI caused by Corynebacterium spp. were 11,744 and 556, respectively, in farm A; the corresponding figures for farm B were 11,804 and 179. Our modeling study included only transmission from persistent IMI caused by Corynebacterium spp. within the lactation pens. The rate of new infections was significantly related to preexisting IMI in both farms, underscoring the importance of preexisting Corynebacterium spp. IMI for the transmission of Corynebacterium spp. within lactation pens. The estimated basic reproduction numbers (R0) in the 2 farms were 1.18 and 0.98, respectively. The nonsignificant disparity in R0 was associated with significant differences in cure rates between farms.