Cardiomyopathy syndrome (CMS) is a severe cardiac disease of Atlantic salmon caused by the piscine myocarditis virus (PMCV), which was first reported in Ireland in 2012. In this paper, we describe the use of data-driven network modeling as a framework to evaluate the transmission of PMCV in the Irish farmed Atlantic salmon population and the impact of different mitigation measures. Input data included live fish movement data from 2009 to 2017, population dynamics events and the spatial location of the farms. With these inputs, we fitted a network-based stochastic infection spread model. After assumed initial introduction of the agent in 2009, our results indicate that it took 5 years to reach a between-farm prevalence of 100% in late 2014, with older fish being most affected. Local spread accounted for only a small proportion of new infections, being more important for sustained infection in a given area. Spread via movement of subclinically infected fish was most important for explaining the observed countrywide spread of the agent. Of the targeted intervention strategies evaluated, the most effective were those that target those fish farms in Ireland that can be considered the most connected, based on the number of farm-to-farm linkages in a specific time period through outward fish movements. The application of these interventions in a proactive way (before the first reported outbreak of the disease in 2012), assuming an active testing of fish consignments to and from the top 8 ranked farms in terms of outward fish movement, would have yielded the most protection for the Irish salmon farming industry. Using this approach, the between-farm PMCV prevalence never exceeded 20% throughout the simulation time (as opposed to the simulated 100% when no interventions are applied). We argue that the Irish salmon farming industry would benefit from this approach in the future, as it would help in early detection and prevention of the spread of viral agents currently exotic to the country.
- disease transmission
- farmed salmon
- network modeling
- piscine myocarditis virus (PMCV)
ASJC Scopus subject areas