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A simulation model of brucellosis spread in British cattle under several testing regimes

England, T. and Kelly, Louise Anne and Jones, R.D. and MacMillan, A. and Wooldridge, M.. (2004) A simulation model of brucellosis spread in British cattle under several testing regimes. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 63 (1-2). pp. 63-73. ISSN 0167-5877

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Abstract

Brucellosis is a widespread, economically devastating and highly infectious zoonosis. In cattle, infection predominantly is caused by Brucella abortus, and is usually detected in pregnant females through abortions. Great Britain (GB) has been declared free from brucellosis (officially brucellosis free (OBF)) since 1993 and as such is required by European Union (EU) regulations to test ≥20% of both beef and dairy cattle >24 months old routinely. Currently, however, GB serologically tests more cattle than required and the issue of reducing the level of testing has come under consideration. We developed a simulation model to determine the rate of spread of brucellosis under a variety of testing regimes. For dairy herds, we found that reducing the level of testing would have a major effect on the rate of spread of infection, should it be imported. For beef herds, reducing the level of testing would have much less effect. We also found that abortion notification is a very-important additional means of surveillance. As a result of our predictions, policy-makers decided not to reduce the level of testing and actively to promote abortion notification.