An economic decision support tool for simulating paratuberculosis control strategies in a UK suckler beef herd
Bennett, R., McClement, I. and McFarlane, I. (2010) An economic decision support tool for simulating paratuberculosis control strategies in a UK suckler beef herd. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 93 (4). pp. 286-293. ISSN 0167-5877
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2009.11.006
A dynamic, deterministic, economic simulation model was developed to estimate the costs and benefits of controlling Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Johne's disease) in a suckler beef herd. The model is intended as a demonstration tool for veterinarians to use with farmers. The model design process involved user consultation and participation and the model is freely accessible on a dedicated website. The 'user-friendly' model interface allows the input of key assumptions and farm specific parameters enabling model simulations to be tailored to individual farm circumstances. The model simulates the effect of Johne's disease and various measures for its control in terms of herd prevalence and the shedding states of animals within the herd, the financial costs of the disease and of any control measures and the likely benefits of control of Johne's disease for the beef suckler herd over a 10-year period. The model thus helps to make more transparent the 'hidden costs' of Johne's in a herd and the likely benefits to be gained from controlling the disease. The control strategies considered within the model are 'no control', 'testing and culling of diagnosed animals', 'improving management measures' or a dual strategy of 'testing and culling in association with improving management measures'. An example 'run' of the model shows that the strategy 'improving management measures', which reduces infection routes during the early stages, results in a marked fall in herd prevalence and total costs. Testing and culling does little to reduce prevalence and does not reduce total costs over the 10-year period.