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Impact of movement regulations on the spread of disease in cattle

M. C. Vernon, M. J. Keeling

THE movement of animals within the UK is vital to the economics of the livestock industry but carries with it the risk of transmitting infectious diseases. During the past decade, there have been several major pathogen outbreaks within the British livestock industry and a variety of regulatory and disease control measures have been applied to the movement of animals in an attempt to mitigate the spread of disease. The Rapid Analysis and Detection of Animal-related Risks (RADAR) project has collected data on cattle movements since 1998 and as such provides a relatively comprehensive record of how these regulations have affected the movement of cattle between farms, markets and slaughterhouses. This study used this data to create a computer simulation model to examine how policy changes have influenced the potential spread of infectious diseases.

Movement data for individual cattle for the period January 2000 to December 2009 were considered. A stochastic discrete-time SEIR (susceptible, exposed, immune, recovered) model, formulated at the individual cattle level, was deployed in order to assess how the epidemic potential varied as the pattern of movements changed in response to new legislation …

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