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Where diseases and networks collide: lessons to be learnt from a study of the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease epidemic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 June 2005

M. D. F. SHIRLEY
Affiliation:
Institute for Research on Environment and Sustainability, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
S. P. RUSHTON
Affiliation:
Institute for Research on Environment and Sustainability, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
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Abstract

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This paper uses a graph-theoretical approach to investigate the properties of the observed network of disease transmission in the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic in the United Kingdom. This analysis revealed both global and local heterogeneity in the contact pattern between the infected premises in the first 3 weeks of the disease. In particular, the global heterogeneity contributed to the failure of the culling strategy imposed by the UK government. However, a more effective strategy targeting selective deletion of key premises in the network was not available once the epidemic had begun. We recommend that post-hoc analyses of this sort should become part of preventative and proactive policy rather than part of a reaction to an ongoing crisis.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2005 Cambridge University Press