Assessment of the bovine tuberculosis elimination protocol in the United States

Leslie J. Verteramo Chiu, Loren W. Tauer, Rebecca L. Smith, Yrjo T. Grohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we analyzed the performance of the USDA's bovine tuberculosis (bTB) elimination protocol in a 1,000-cow closed dairy herd using an agent-based simulation model under different levels of initial bTB infection. We followed the bTB test sensitivity and specificity values used by the USDA in its model assessment. We estimated the net present value over a 20-yr horizon for a bTB-free milking herd and for bTB-infected herds following the USDA protocol. We estimated the expected time to identify the infection in the herd once it is introduced, its elimination time, the reproductive number (R 0 ), and effective reproduction number (R e ) under the USDA protocol. The optimal number of consecutive negative whole-herd tests (WHT) needed to declare a herd bTB-free with a 95% confidence under different bTB prevalence levels was derived. Our results support the minimum number of consecutive negative WHT required by the USDA protocol to declare a herd bTB-free; however, the number of consecutive negative WHT needed to eliminate bTB in a herd depends on the sensitivity and specificity of the tests. The robustness of the protocol was analyzed under conservative bTB test parameters from the literature. The cost of implementing the USDA protocol when 1 infected heifer is introduced in a 1,000-cow dairy herd is about $1,523,161. The average time until detection and the time required to eliminate bTB-infected animals from the herd, after 1 occult animal is introduced in the herd, were 735 and 119 d, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2384-2400
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • agent-based model
  • bovine tuberculosis economic cost
  • bovine tuberculosis elimination strategy
  • bovine tuberculosis infection simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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