Understanding the dynamics of Salmonella infections in dairy herds: A modelling approach

Yanni Xiao, Roger G. Bowers, Damian Clancy, Nigel P. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


There is evidence of variation in the infection dynamics of different Salmonella serotypes in cattle—ranging from transient epidemics to long term persistence and recurrence. We seek to identify possible causes of these differences. In this study we present mathematical models which describe both managed population dynamics and epidemiology and use these to investigate the effects of demographic and epidemiological factors on epidemic behaviour and threshold for invasion. In particular, when the system is perturbed by higher culling or pathogen-induced mortality we incorporate mechanisms to constrain the lactating herd size to remain constant in the absence of pathogen or to lie within a fairly small interval in the presence of pathogen. A combination of numerical and analytical techniques is used to analyse the models. We find that the epidemiologically dominating management group can change from the dry/lactating cycle to the weaned group with increasing culling rate. Pseudovertical transmission is found to have little effect on the invasion criteria, while indirect transmission has significant influence. Pathogen-induced mortality, recovery, immune response and pathogen removal are found to be factors inducing damped oscillations; variation in these factors between Salmonella serotypes may be responsible for some of the observed differences in within herd dynamics. Specifically, higher pathogen-induced mortality, shorter infectious period, more persistent immune response and more rapid removal of faeces result in a lower number of infectives and smaller epidemics but a greater tendency for damped oscillations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-175
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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