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Modelling local dispersal of bluetongue virus serotype 8 using random walk

Gerbier G., Baldet T., Tran A., Hendrickx G., Guis H., Mintiens K., Elbers A.R.W., Staubach C.. 2008. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 87 (1-2) : p. 119-130.

DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2008.06.012

The knowledge of the place where a disease is first introduced and from where it later spreads is a key element for the understanding of an epizootic. For a contagious disease, the main method is back tracing. For a vector-borne disease such as the Bluetongue virus serotype 8 epizootic that occurred in 2006 in North-Western Europe, the efficiency of tracing is limited because many infected animals are not showing clinical signs. In the present study, we propose to use a statistical approach, random walk, to model local spread in order to derive the Area of First Infection (AFI) and spread rate. Local spread is basically described by the random movements of infected insect vectors. Our model localised the AFI centre, origin of the infection, in the Netherlands, South of Maastricht. This location is consistent with the location of the farms where the disease was first notified in the three countries (Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany) and the farm where retrospectively the earliest clinical signs were found. The derived rate of spread of 10-15 km/week is consistent with the rates observed in other Bluetongue epizootics. In another article Mintiens (2008), the AFI definition has then been used to investigate possible ways of introduction (upstream tracing) and to study the effect of animal movements from this area (downstream tracing). (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : virus bluetongue; sérotype; fièvre catarrhale du mouton; modèle de simulation; transmission des maladies; Épidémiologie; modèle mathématique; dynamique des populations; cartographie; europe; allemagne; pays-bas

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