Testing of composite fecal (environmental) samples from high traffic areas in dairy herds has been shown to be a cost-effective and sensitive method for classification of herd status for Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP). In the National Animal Health Monitoring System's (NAHMS) Dairy 2007 study, the apparent herd-level prevalence of MAP was 70.4% (369/524 had ≥ 1 culture-positive composite fecal samples out of 6 tested). Based on these data, the true herd-level prevalence (HP) of MAP infection was estimated using Bayesian methods adjusting for the herd sensitivity (HSe) and herd specificity (HSp) of the test method. The Bayesian prior for HSe of composite fecal cultures was based on data from the NAHMS Dairy 2002 study and the prior for HSp was based on expert opinion. The posterior median HP (base model) was 91.1% (95% probability interval, 81.6 to 99.3%) and estimates were most sensitive to the prior for HSe. The HP was higher than estimated from the NAHMS Dairy 1996 and 2002 studies but estimates are not directly comparable with those of prior NAHMS studies because of the different testing methods and criteria used for herd classification.
Published by Elsevier B.V.