This paper has 2 objectives. First, it argues that it is beneficial to regard degree of infection with respect to mastitis as a latent quantity varying continuously from 0 (truly healthy) to 1 (full-blown clinical mastitis). This quantity is denoted as degree of infection (DOI). The DOI is based on extracting common characteristics from a panel of indicators measured repeatedly over time. The indicators used in this paper are electrical conductivity (EC), somatic cell count (SCC), and the immune response related enzyme lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). Second, this paper presents a statistical model for such data and a corresponding method for estimating the DOI from a panel of indicators. An empirical proof of concept is provided. Using DOI, there was a significant difference between the DOI of mastitic and healthy control cows beginning 5 d before the mastitic cows were treated for mastitis.
Journal of Dairy Science, 2010, Vol 93, Issue 2, p. 582-592
mastitis; health status; dynamical factor analysis; state space model