Background Equine influenza (EI) is an infectious respiratory disease of horses that has never been reported in New Zealand (NZ). However, the 2007 EI outbreak in Australia, previously EI free, spurred the NZ government and stakeholders into evaluating alternative EI control strategies in order to economically justify any future decision to eradicate or manage EI. To build on the policy debate, this paper presents an epinomic (epidemiologic and economic) modelling approach to evaluate alternative control strategies. An epidemiologic model to determine how alternative EI control strategies influence the distribution of EI. Model results were then input into a cost-benefit analysis framework, to identify the return and feasibility of alternative EI eradication strategies in NZ. Methods The article explores nine alternative eradication scenarios and two baseline strategies. The alternative scenarios consisted of three vaccination strategies (suppressive, protective or targeted) starting at three time points to reflect the commercial breeding-cycle. These alternatives were compared to two breeding-cycle adjusted baselines: movement restriction in the breeding season (August to January) or non-breeding season (February to July). The economic loss parameters were incursion response, impact to the commercial racing industry (breeding, sales and racing), horse morbidity and mortality, and compensation to industry participants. Results and conclusions Results suggest that the economic viability of the EI eradication programme is dependent on when within the breeding-cycle the EI outbreak occurs. If an outbreak were to occur, the return on each dollar invested for protective or suppressive vaccination strategies would be between NZD$3.67 to NZD$4.89 and between NZD$3.08 to NZD$3.50 in the breeding and non-breeding seasons, respectively. Therefore, protective or suppressive vaccination strategies could be prioritised, regardless of season. As multiple industry stakeholders benefit from these strategies, the study will enable policy development and to better formulate a user-pays eradication programme.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)