Simulation analysis of the effect of herd immunity and age structure on infection of a cattle herd with bluetongue viruses in Queensland, Australia

M. P. Ward, Tim Carpenter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


A state-transition model based on Leslie matrix formulation was used to investigate the effects of herd immunity and age structure on the infection of a simulated cattle herd with bluetongue viruses under Australian climatic conditions. Increasing duration of immunity decreased the prevalence of infection. A duration of immunity of 33 months was consistent with prevalence estimates made from previous serological studies of bluetongue virus. Herd prevalence displayed slowly dampening cyclical variation over time (most pronounced when a short duration of immunity was simulated). Increasing calving and mortality risk rates in the simulated herd increased prevalence, whereas increasing age at first calving decreased prevalence. Manipulation of calving rates had the greatest effect on the predicted prevalence of infection in the herd. Simulation of a number of herd-management scenarios suggested that management systems in which cattle are bred early and where high calving rates are achieved are likely to contribute to high levels of infection with bluetongue viruses. Results confirm the importance of management factors in influencing the prevalence of infectious diseases in animal populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-309
Number of pages11
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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