Research Article: A Modeling Framework to Describe the Transmission of Bluetongue Virus within and between Farms in Great Britain

Date Published: November 5, 2009

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Camille Szmaragd, Anthony J. Wilson, Simon Carpenter, James L. N. Wood, Philip S. Mellor, Simon Gubbins, Stephen J. Cornell.

Abstract: Recently much attention has been given to developing national-scale micro-simulation models for livestock diseases that can be used to predict spread and assess the impact of control measures. The focus of these models has been on directly transmitted infections with little attention given to vector-borne diseases such as bluetongue, a viral disease of ruminants transmitted by Culicoides biting midges. Yet BT has emerged over the past decade as one of the most important diseases of livestock.

Partial Text: The advent of increased computing power over the past decade has facilitated the development of national-scale micro-simulation models for the transmission of livestock diseases that can be used to examine the potential spread of epidemics and assess the impact of control measures. This type of approach came to particular prominence during the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) epidemic in Great Britain (GB) [1]–[5]. Since then, large-scale micro-simulation models have been developed for a range of livestock diseases, species and countries: for example, avian influenza in poultry in GB [6]–[8], scrapie in sheep in GB [9]–[11] and classical swine fever in pigs in the Netherlands [12].

This paper presents a modelling framework for the transmission of BTV within and between farms in GB, which can be used to predict patterns of spread and, in particular, assess the impact of different control strategies, especially those involving vaccination. The model was constructed using available data from published literature and from the outbreak of BTV-8 in northern Europe during 2006 and was then validated using data on the spread of BTV-8 in GB during 2007.



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