A simulation model of intraherd transmission of foot and mouth disease with reference to disease spread before and after clinical diagnosis

Tim Carpenter, Mark Thurmond, Thomas W. Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Intraherd transmission of foot and mouth disease virus (FMDV) was examined using a simulation model for a hypothetical 1,000-cow dairy, assuming clinical diagnosis was made when at least 1% (10 cows) or 5% (50 cows) had clinical signs of FMD, 1 index case cow, and transition state distributions for the latent, subclinically infectious, and clinically infectious periods of FMD calculated from published data. Estimates assumed for the number of animal-to-animal contacts (k) adequate for transmission ranged from 0.6 to 9.0 per hour (13.7-216.0 per day). A total of 40,000 iterations (5,000 for each scenario, assessing 4 adequate contact rates and 2 detection criteria) were run. The model predicted that FMD would not be diagnosed in the herd until 10.0-13. 5 days after the index case cow had become infected, at which time between 65% and 97% of the cows (646-967 cows) to nearly 100% (978-996 cows) would already have become infected with the virus, if the number of cows showing clinical signs of FMD at the time of diagnosis were 10 or 50, respectively. At the time of diagnosis, the simulated number of infectious cattle varied substantially from 82-472 to 476-537 cows, depending on adequate contact rate and whether the diagnosis was made when 10 or 50 animals were showing clinical signs, respectively. The simulated number of infectious cows increased rapidly during the first few days after diagnosis. In the scenario where at least 10 cows showing clinical signs was necessary before a clinical diagnosis was made, each day after diagnosis, the number of infectious animals increased by nearly 100 to more than 200 cases per day up to day 5, assuming 0.57-9.0 animal-to-animal contacts per hour, respectively. Results obtained when it was assumed that at least 50 clinical cases were present at the time of diagnosis showed smaller relative increases because nearly one-half of the herd was projected to be infected at the time of diagnosis. From these results, it is clear that once an individual in a herd becomes infected with FMDV, herd infectivity is not static, rather it accelerates as would be expected as long as there are sufficient susceptible animals to sustain the increasing transmission rate, after which time the rate at which new infections occurs will diminish. Results indicate that biosecurity strategies aimed at minimizing both intraherd and interherd contact will be critical in minimizing the spread of FMD before the initial diagnosis is made. In addition, simulations suggest that very early clinical diagnosis of FMD and effective isolation or depopulation and disposal will be critical in limiting the number of infectious animals capable of transmitting the virus to other herds and thus in timely control of an epidemic. Early diagnosis will rely on early virus detection from animals in the preclinical phase of infection, rather than waiting for clinical signs to manifest in sufficient numbers to be noticed and to warrant investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-16
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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