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      Identification of different attitudes towards paratuberculosis control using cluster analysis applied on data from an anonymous survey among German cattle farmers

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          Abstract

          Background

          Paratuberculosis is a common disease in ruminants, causing economic losses in livestock farming, and a relationship between the exposure to its causative agent Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, and Crohn’s disease in humans is discussed. Despite this, only a minority of cattle farmers have enroled in voluntary control programmes in most countries. Therefore, this study aimed at investigating the farmer’s opinion on paratuberculosis and their motivations to participate in a control programme. The objective was to identify different groups among farmers regarding their motivation and thereby contribute to a better understanding of farmers’ attitudes towards paratuberculosis control.

          Results

          Two hundred twenty-five farmers responded to questionnaires that were distributed among cattle farmers in Saxony and Thuringia, federal states of Germany, together with boot-swab sampling sets for a free and anonymous herd-level paratuberculosis test. Among them, dairy herds and large herds were overrepresented. A hierarchical cluster analysis of the farmers’ answers resulted in four groups that we tagged as ‘informed sceptics’, ‘deniers’, ‘affected supporters’ and ‘free supporters’. In all groups, the majority considered paratuberculosis a threat to the public image of cattle farmers. Nearly all participants wanted to know the paratuberculosis herd status of purchased cattle. In contrast to the supporters, the informed sceptics and the deniers did not consider paratuberculosis a dangerous epizootic disease and would not welcome a mandatory control programme. The deniers and the affected supporters, but not the informed sceptics and the free supporters, assumed that their herd is affected by paratuberculosis. Unlike the deniers, all other groups would enrol in a control programme if the pathogen would have been found in their herd. Protecting future profitability and improving animal health were the two most important motivations to control paratuberculosis in all groups followed by aspects related to the marketing of breeding cattle. Most frequently, the costs and the assumed inaccuracy of diagnostics tests were mentioned as obstacles that hamper programme enrolment.

          Conclusions

          Significantly different attitudes of farmers regarding paratuberculosis control were identified. Therefore, tailored rather than uniform communication strategies are required to enhance participation in voluntary paratuberculosis control programmes.

          Supplementary Information

          The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s13620-021-00204-3.

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          Most cited references 36

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          Prior distributions for variance parameters in hierarchical models

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            Johne's disease in Canada Part I: clinical symptoms, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and prevalence in dairy herds.

            Recent international developments in the area of infectious disease control and nontariff trade barriers, along with possible zoonotic concerns, have provoked a revival of interest in Johne's disease in Canada and elsewhere. The bacterium causing Johne's disease, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, is distributed worldwide and causes chronic granulomatous enteritis, also known as paratuberculosis, in domestic and exotic ruminants, including cattle. The subclinical form of this disease results in progressive weight loss, reduced milk production, lower slaughter value, and premature culling, with possible impacts on fertility and udder health. Eventually, infection can lead to the clinical form that manifests as chronic diarrhea, emaciation, debilitation, and eventual death. Currently, available tests to detect infected animals produce many false-negative results and some false-positives, particularly in subclinically infected animals, thus making their interpretation and utilization challenging in control programs. The objective of this 2-part review is to critically review the literature about Johne's disease in dairy cattle for bovine practitioners in Canada. Part I covers the clinical stages, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and prevalence of infection in Canada, while Part II discusses impacts, risk factors, and control programs relevant to Canadian dairy farms. By reviewing the scientific literature about Johne's disease, control of the disease could be pursued through informed implementation of rational biosecurity efforts and the strategic use of testing and culling.
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              Control of paratuberculosis: who, why and how. A review of 48 countries

              Paratuberculosis, a chronic disease affecting ruminant livestock, is caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP). It has direct and indirect economic costs, impacts animal welfare and arouses public health concerns. In a survey of 48 countries we found paratuberculosis to be very common in livestock. In about half the countries more than 20% of herds and flocks were infected with MAP. Most countries had large ruminant populations (millions), several types of farmed ruminants, multiple husbandry systems and tens of thousands of individual farms, creating challenges for disease control. In addition, numerous species of free-living wildlife were infected. Paratuberculosis was notifiable in most countries, but formal control programs were present in only 22 countries. Generally, these were the more highly developed countries with advanced veterinary services. Of the countries without a formal control program for paratuberculosis, 76% were in South and Central America, Asia and Africa while 20% were in Europe. Control programs were justified most commonly on animal health grounds, but protecting market access and public health were other factors. Prevalence reduction was the major objective in most countries, but Norway and Sweden aimed to eradicate the disease, so surveillance and response were their major objectives. Government funding was involved in about two thirds of countries, but operations tended to be funded by farmers and their organizations and not by government alone. The majority of countries (60%) had voluntary control programs. Generally, programs were supported by incentives for joining, financial compensation and/or penalties for non-participation. Performance indicators, structure, leadership, practices and tools used in control programs are also presented. Securing funding for long-term control activities was a widespread problem. Control programs were reported to be successful in 16 (73%) of the 22 countries. Recommendations are made for future control programs, including a primary goal of establishing an international code for paratuberculosis, leading to universal acknowledgment of the principles and methods of control in relation to endemic and transboundary disease. An holistic approach across all ruminant livestock industries and long-term commitment is required for control of paratuberculosis. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s12917-019-1943-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Veit.Zoche-Golob@bfr.bund.de
                Journal
                Ir Vet J
                Ir Vet J
                Irish Veterinary Journal
                BioMed Central (London )
                0368-0762
                2046-0481
                15 September 2021
                15 September 2021
                2021
                : 74
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Thuringian Animal Diseases Fund, Animal Health Service, Jena, Thuringia Germany
                [2 ]GRID grid.417830.9, ISNI 0000 0000 8852 3623, Department Biological Safety, , German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, Unit Epidemiology, Zoonoses and Antimicrobial Resistance, ; Diedersdorfer Weg 1, 12277 Berlin, Germany
                [3 ]Saxon Animal Disease Fund, Animal Health Service, Dresden, Saxony Germany
                [4 ]GRID grid.8664.c, ISNI 0000 0001 2165 8627, Clinic for Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Andrology with Veterinary Ambulance, , Justus-Liebig-University, ; Giessen, Hesse Germany
                Article
                204
                10.1186/s13620-021-00204-3
                8444409
                e61d0fbe-2146-4acb-8429-b47d2d7c773b
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Open AccessThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

                Funding
                Funded by: Landesvereinigung Thüringer Milch e.V.
                Funded by: Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR) (4240)
                Categories
                Research
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2021

                Veterinary medicine

                questionnaire, johne’s disease, motivation, mindset, risk perception

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