Decisions on control of foot-and-mouth disease informed using model predictions

Tariq Hisham Beshara Halasa, P. Willeberg, Lasse Engbo Christiansen, Anette Boklund, M. AlKhamis, A. Perez, Claes Enøe

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The decision on whether or not to change the control strategy, such as introducing emergency vaccination, is perhaps one of the most difficult decisions faced by the veterinary authorities during a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) epidemic. A simple tool that may predict the epidemic outcome and consequences would be useful to assist the veterinary authorities in the decision-making process. A previously proposed simple quantitative tool based on the first 14 days outbreaks (FFO) of FMD was used with results from an FMD simulation exercise. Epidemic outcomes included the number of affected herds, epidemic duration, geographical size and costs. The first 14 days spatial spread (FFS) was also included to further support the prediction. The epidemic data was obtained from a Danish version (DTU-DADS) of a pre-existing FMD simulation model (Davis Animal Disease Spread – DADS) adapted to model the spread of FMD in Denmark. The European Union (EU) and Danish regulations for FMD control were used in the simulation. The correlations between FFO and FFS and the additional number of affected herds after day 14 following detection of the first infected herd were 0.66 and 0.82, respectively. The variation explained by the FFO at day 14 following detection was high (P-value < 0.001). This indicates that the FFO may take a part in the decision of whether or not to intensify FMD control, for instance by introducing emergency vaccination and/or pre-emptive depopulation, which might prevent a “catastrophic situation”. A significant part of the variation was explained by supplementing the model with the FFS (P-value < 0.001). Furthermore, the type of the index-herd was also a significant predictor of the epidemic outcomes (P-value < 0.05). The results of the current study suggest that national veterinary authorities should consider to model their national situation and to use FFO and FFS to help planning and updating their contingency plans and FMD emergency control strategies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)194-202
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Foot and mouth disease
  • Decision tool
  • Control

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