Herd-level risk factors associated with Leptospira Hardjo seroprevalence in Beef/Suckler herds in the Republic of Ireland

Ryan, Eoin Gerard; Leonard, Nola; O'Grady, Luke; Doherty, Michael L.; More, Simon J.
September 2012
Veterinary Ireland Journal;Sep2012, Vol. 2 Issue 9, Special section p1
Academic Journal
Background: The aim of the present study was to investigate risk factors for herd seropositivity to Leptospira Hardjo in Irish suckler herds. Herds were considered eligible for the study if they were unvaccinated and contained ≥ 9 breeding animals of beef breed which were ≥ 12 months of age. The country was divided into six regions using county boundaries. Herd and individual animal prevalence data were available from the results of a concurrent seroprevalence study. Herds were classified as either "Free from Infection" or "Infected" based on a minimum expected 40% within-herd prevalence. Questionnaires were posted to 320 farmers chosen randomly from 6 regions, encompassing 25 counties, of the Republic of Ireland. The questionnaire was designed to obtain information about vaccination; reproductive disease; breeding herd details; the presence of recognized risk factors from previous studies; and husbandry on each farm. Data collected from 128 eligible herds were subjected to statistical analysis. Results: Following the use of Pearson's Chi-Square Test, those variables associated with a herd being "infected" with a significance level of P < 0.2 were considered as candidates for multivariable logistic regression modelling. Breeding herd size was found to be a statistically significant risk factor after multivariable logistic regression. The odds of a herd being positive for leptospiral infection were 5.47 times higher (P = 0.032) in herds with 14 to 23 breeding animals compared with herds with ≤ 13 breeding animals, adjusting for Region, and 7.08 times higher (P = 0.033) in herds with 32.6 to 142 breeding animals. Conclusions: Breeding herd size was identified as a significant risk factor for leptospiral infection in Irish suckler herds, which was similar to findings of previous studies of leptospirosis in dairy herds.


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