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Modelling of BVD transmission across a network of farms

M. Tinsley, F. I. Lewis, F. Brülisauer

ENDEMIC diseases of cattle such as bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) have a significant impact on the economic productivity of farms. Modelling studies carried out to predict the implications of control strategies focus at the local level; however, insight into the prevalence and control across a network of farms requires a network-level approach, especially when disease transmission is primarily associated with the movement of infected animals. This research investigated network modelling and possible control measures.

Although the epidemiology of BVD virus is well established, on-farm level modelling of virus transmission is still complex. If a persistently infected animal (PI) is introduced into a naive herd, transmission to the entire herd occurs relatively rapidly (within one to eight months). If the infection occurs during the first third of gestation, more PIs are born. As such, BVD can remain endemic for years on a farm. Infection-free status may be achieved by targeted control or self-clearance (eg, PIs die or are moved).

The Scottish beef farm network was used in the model, due to the prevalence and animal movement data available. Using SIS dynamics, each farm was treated as a homogeneous unit with a …

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