This article examines a tradeoff between ex ante mitigation costs and ex post costs of response to a potential introduction of animal disease such as Foot and Mouth (FMD). In a simplified case study setting we examine the conditions for optimality of enhanced detection systems considering various characteristics of a potential FMD outbreak, costs of program implementation, severity of the disease outbreak, and relative effectiveness of surveillance and response strategies. We show that the decision to invest in ex ante detection activities depends on such factors as likelihood of disease introduction, disease spread rate, relative costs, ancillary benefits and effectiveness of mitigation strategies. While for slow spreading disease the investment in surveillance and detection was found to be optimal only for high probabilities of introduction, the investment was optimal even for low probabilities of outbreak occurrence for fast spreading disease.


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