Use of heterogeneous operation-specific contact parameters changes predictions for foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in complex simulation models

Bradley F. Dickey, Tim Carpenter, Scott M. Bartell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

The role of contact parameters in a complex spatial simulation model of foot-and-mouth disease spread was determined by comparing predictions of number of infected premises, epidemic duration, and relative infection risk for different production sectors between a model that included the Full, heterogeneous (differing by production type) type-specific information about animal, vehicle and personnel movement between premises, and models that used partial and homogeneous (similar across production types) weighted-mean or proxy parameter sets for contacts between premises of all types. The model was run using a dataset of known premises locations in a three-county area in the Central Valley of California and categorized into 13 premises types and six production sectors. Results from models run with homogeneous contact parameters were always different from those obtained from the Full model, demonstrating that model predictions are affected by heterogeneity in contact parameters. Models simplified by using weighted-mean parameters predicted fewer infected premises. Models that were simplified by using medium dairy farm or large swine operation proxy parameters predicted longer epidemics with more infected premises, while those using small beef operation proxy parameters predicted shorter epidemics with fewer infected premises. Simplified-parameter models underestimated the impact on the economically important dairy sector, while overestimating the impact on beef and backyard operations. Results establish a need for heterogeneous, operation-specific contact parameters in complex stochastic simulation models that must be weighed against the cost of obtaining and coding premises type-specific contact information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-287
Number of pages16
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Volume87
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 17 2008

Keywords

  • Computer simulation model
  • Contact parameters
  • Foot-and-mouth disease
  • Foreign animal disease
  • Sensitivity analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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