Objective - To estimate when foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) would first be detected in bulk tank milk of dairies after exposure to FMDV. Sample Population - Hypothetical dairy herds milking 100, 500, or 1,000 cows. Procedures - For each day after herd exposure to FMDV, infection, milk yield, and virolactia were simulated for individual cows with low and high rates of intraherd transmission to estimate when a PCR assay would detect virus in bulk tank milk. Detection limits were based on assumptions for the number of virus genomes per milliliter of milk and for analytical sensitivity of a PCR assay. Results - A mean of 10% of the cows was predicted to have FMD lesions from 7 to 8 days and from 13.5 to 15 days after herd exposure for herds with high and low intraherd transmission rates, respectively. Herd bulk milk volume decreased by 10% by 8.5 to 9.5 days and by 15 to 16.5 days after herd exposure for herds with high and low transmission rates, respectively. Mean times by which FMDV would be first detected in bulk milk were 2.5 days and 6.5 to 8 days after herd exposure, which were extended for 10 to 11 days and 17 to 18 days for herds with high and low transmission rates, respectively. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance - PCR screening of bulk milk for FMDV would likely detect FMDV in dairy herds several days sooner than might be expected for owner reporting of clinical signs and thus should be worthy of consideration for regional, national, or global FMD surveillance.
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