The impact of changing farm structure on foot-and-mouth disease spread and control: A simulation study

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Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral disease that affects ruminants and pigs. Countries with large exports of livestock products are highly vulnerable to economic damage following an FMD incursion. The faster disease spread is controlled, the lower the economic damage. During the past decades, the structure of livestock production has dramatically changed. To maintain the relevance of contingency plans, it is important to understand the effects of changes in herd structure on the spread and control of infectious diseases. In this study, we compare the spread and control of FMD based on 2006/2007 and 2018 livestock data. Spread of FMD in Denmark was simulated using the DTU-DADS model, applying different control measures. The number of cattle, swine and sheep/goat herds reduced from about 50,000 in total in 2006/2007 to about 33,000 in 2018. During this period, the average number of outgoing animal movements and the exports of swine and swine products increased by about 35% and 22%, respectively. This coincided with an overall increase in herd size of 14%. Using the EU and national control measures (Basic: 3 days standstill, depopulation of detected herds followed by cleaning and disinfection and establishment of control zones, where tracing, surveillance and contact restrictions are implemented), we found that the simulated epidemics in 2018 would be about 50% shorter in duration, affect about 50% fewer herds but cause more economic damage, compared to epidemics using 2006/2007 data. When 2006/2007 data were used, Basic + pre-emptive depopulation (Depop) overall was the optimal control strategy. When 2018 data were used, this was the case only when epidemics were initiated in cattle herds, whereas when epidemics were initiated in sow or sheep/goats herds, basic performed as well as Depop. The results demonstrate that regular assessment of measures to control the spread of infectious diseases is necessary for contingency planning.

TidsskriftTransboundary and Emerging Diseases
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)1633-1644
StatusUdgivet - 2020

ID: 236715527