Vulnerability of the British swine industry to classical swine fever

Thibaud Porphyre, Carla Correia-Gomes, Margo E. Chase-Topping, Kokouvi Gamado, Harriet K. Auty, Ian Hutchinson, Aaron Reeves, George J. Gunn & Mark E. J. Woolhouse

Classical swine fever (CSF) is a notifiable, highly contagious viral disease of swine which results in severe welfare and economic consequences in affected countries. To improve preparedness, it is critical to have some understanding of how CSF would spread should it be introduced. Based on the data recorded during the 2000 epidemic of CSF in Great Britain (GB), a spatially explicit, premises-based model was developed to explore the risk of CSF spread in GB. We found that large outbreaks of CSF would be rare and generated from a limited number of areas in GB. Despite the consistently low vulnerability of the British swine industry to large CSF outbreaks, we identified concerns with respect to the role played by the non-commercial sector of the industry. The model further revealed how various epidemiological features may influence the spread of CSF in GB, highlighting the importance of between-farm biosecurity in preventing widespread dissemination of the virus. Knowledge of factors affecting the risk of spread are key components for surveillance planning and resource allocation, and this work provides a valuable stepping stone in guiding policy on CSF surveillance and control in GB.

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