Temporal characterisation of the network of Danish cattle movements and its implication for disease control: 2000–2009

Marshal M. Mweu, Guillaume Fournié, Tariq Hisham Beshara Halasa, Nils Toft, Søren S. Nielsen

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    Social network analysis provides a valuable framework for understanding the dynamics of diseases on networks as well as a means for defining effective control measures. An understanding of the underlying contact pattern for a susceptible population is advisable before embarking on any strategy for disease control. The objective of this study was to characterise the network of Danish cattle movements over a 10-year period from 2000 to 2009 with a view to understanding: (1) cohesiveness of the network, (2) influential holdings and (3) structural vulnerability of the network.Network analyses of data involving all cattle movements in Denmark registered during the period of interest were performed. A total of 50,494 premises participated in 4,204,895 individual movements during the 10-year period. The results pointed to a predominantly scale-free structure of the network; though marked by small-world properties in March–April 2001 as well as in 24 other months during the period October 2006 to December 2009. The network was sparsely connected with markets being the key influential holdings. Its vulnerability to removal of markets suggests that targeting highly connected holdings during epidemics should be the focus of control efforts.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
    Issue number3-4
    Pages (from-to)379-387
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Network analysis
    • Temporal characteristics
    • Scale-free
    • Small-world
    • Cattle movements

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