Mortality in Danish Swine herds: Spatio-temporal clusters and risk factors

Ana Carolina Lopes Antunes, Annette Kjær Ersbøll, Kristine Bihrmann, Nils Toft

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The aim of this study was to explore spatio-temporal mortality patterns in Danish swine herds from December 2013 to October 2015, and to discuss the use of mortality data for syndromic surveillance in Denmark. Although it has previously been assessed within the context of syndromic surveillance, the value of mortality data generated on a regular and mandatory basis from all swine herds remains unexplored in terms of swine surveillance in Denmark.

    A total of 5010 farms were included in the analysis, corresponding to 1896 weaner herds, 1490 sow herds and 3839 finisher herds. The spatio-temporal analysis included data description for spatial, temporal, and spatio-temporal cluster analysis for three age groups: weaners (up to 30 kg), sows and finishers. Logistic regression models were used to assess the potential factors associated with finisher and weaner herds being included within multiple-herd clusters.
    The spatio-temporal distribution of mortality changed over time, and suggested a general increase in mortality for the months of January and July for the three age groups. A large number of single-herd clusters (i.e. clusters with only one herd), and fewer multiple-herd clusters (i.e. clusters with at least two herds) were found. The herd size affected whether weaner herds were within multiple-herd clusters, and factors such farm type, SPF status and presence of atrophic rhinitis had an impact on finisher herds being inside vs. outside multiple-herd clusters in the univariable analysis. However, due to a strong correlation between variables, only farm type remained in the multivariable analysis for the finisher herds.
    The higher mortality observed for the months of January and July could be linked to infrequent updates of the data used to calculate mortality. The presence of single-herd clusters might indicate welfare and disease issues, while multiple-herd clusters could suggest the presence of infectious diseases within the cluster area. The impact of farm type is linked to the fact that larger farms specialize in only one age group, with high biosecurity and more specialized personnel, and subsequently a lower mortality.
    Mortality data have a potential use in disease surveillance. However, detected clusters might not be due to disease, but the result of changes such as herd management practices. Further analysis to explore other spatio-temporal monitoring methods is needed before mortality data can be incorporated into a Danish disease monitoring system.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
    Pages (from-to)41-48
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Mortality
    • Swine
    • Spatio-temporal analysis
    • Risk factors


    Dive into the research topics of 'Mortality in Danish Swine herds: Spatio-temporal clusters and risk factors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this