Modeling the live-pig trade network in Georgia: Implications for disease prevention and control

Esther Andrea Kukielka, Beatriz Martinez Lopez, Daniel Beltrán-Alcrudo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Live pig trade patterns, drivers and characteristics, particularly in backyard predominant systems, remain largely unexplored despite their important contribution to the spread of infectious diseases in the swine industry. A better understanding of the pig trade dynamics can inform the implementation of risk-based and more cost-effective prevention and control programs for swine diseases. In this study, a semi-structured questionnaire elaborated by FAO and implemented to 487 farmers was used to collect data regarding basic characteristics about pig demographics and live-pig trade among villages in the country of Georgia, where very scarce information is available. Social network analysis and exponential random graph models were used to better understand the structure, contact patterns and main drivers for pig trade in the country. Results indicate relatively infrequent (a total of 599 shipments in one year) and geographically localized (median Euclidean distance between shipments = 6.08 km; IQR = 0+13.88 km) pig movements in the studied regions. The main factors contributing to live-pig trade movements among villages were being from the same region (i.e., local trade), usage of a middleman or a live animal market to trade live pigs by at least one farmer in the village, and having a large number of pig farmers in the village. The identified villages' characteristics and structural network properties could be used to inform the design of more cost-effective surveillance systems in a country which pig industry was recently devastated by African swine fever epidemics and where backyard production systems are predominant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number0178904
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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