Impact of foot-and-mouth disease on mastitis and culling on a large-scale dairy farm in Kenya

Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a highly transmissible viral infection of cloven hooved animals associated with severe economic losses when introduced into FMD-free countries. Information on the impact of the disease in FMDV-endemic countries is poorly characterised yet essential for the prioritisation of scarce resources for disease control programmes. A FMD (virus serotype SAT2) outbreak on a large-scale dairy farm in Nakuru County, Kenya provided an opportunity to evaluate the impact of FMD on clinical mastitis and culling rate. A cohort approach followed animals over a 12-month period after the commencement of the outbreak. For culling, all animals were included; for mastitis, those over 18 months of age. FMD was recorded in 400/644 cattle over a 29-day period. During the follow-up period 76 animals were culled or died whilst in the over 18 month old cohort 63 developed clinical mastitis. Hazard ratios (HR) were generated using Cox regression accounting for non-proportional hazards by inclusion of time-varying effects. Univariable analysis showed FMD cases were culled sooner but there was no effect on clinical mastitis. After adjusting for possible confounders and inclusion of time-varying effects there was weak evidence to support an effect of FMD on culling (HR = 1.7, 95% confidence intervals [CI] 0.88-3.1, P = 0.12). For mastitis, there was stronger evidence of an increased rate in the first month after the onset of the outbreak (HR = 2.9, 95%CI 0.97-8.9, P = 0.057).

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