Johne's disease (JD) is a chronic enteric disease in cattle caused by Mycobacterium avian subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP). Eradicating JD is a difficult task due to the long incubation period of MAP, inefficient diagnostic tests, and delayed clinical signs. Effective control strategies can help farmers to reduce prevalence, but those most acceptable to farmers combine specific information about lactation performance and testing results, which existing models do not provide. This paper presents an individual-based model of MAP infection dynamics and assesses the relative performance of the applied alternative control strategies. The base dairy herd model included the daily life events of a dairy cow and reflects several current dairy management processes. We then integrated MAP infection dynamics into the model. The model adopted four different test-based control strategies based on risk-based culling decisions and three hygiene scenarios. The model tracked the source of each infection and quantified the efficacy of each control strategy in reducing the risks of different transmission routes. The results suggest that risk-based culling can reduce prevalence compared with no control, but cannot eliminate the infection. Overall, this work provides not only a valuable tool to investigate MAP transmission dynamics but also offers adaptability to model similar infectious diseases.
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