Using national movement databases to help inform responses to swine disease outbreaks in Scotland: the impact of uncertainty around incursion time

Scientific Reports

Modelling is an important component of contingency planning and control of disease outbreaks. Dynamic network models are considered more useful than static models because they capture important dynamic patterns of farm behaviour as evidenced through animal movements. This study evaluates the usefulness of a dynamic network model of swine fever to predict pre-detection spread via movements of pigs, when there may be considerable uncertainty surrounding the time of incursion of infection. It explores the utility and limitations of animal movement data to inform such models and as such, provides some insight into the impact of improving traceability through real-time animal movement reporting and the use of electronic animal movement databases. The study concludes that the type of premises and uncertainty of the time of disease incursion will affect model accuracy and highlights the need for improvements in these areas.