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Abstract

Outbreaks of infectious animal diseases can lead to substantial losses as evidenced by 2003 US BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) event with consequent loss of export markets, and the 2001 UK FMD (Foot and Mouth Disease) outbreak that has cost estimates in the billions. In this paper we present a linked epidemiologic-economic modeling framework which is used to investigate several FMD mitigation strategies under the context of an FMD outbreak in a concentrated cattle feeding region in the US. In this study we extend the literature by investigating the economic effectiveness of some previously unaddressed strategies including early detection, enhanced vaccine availability, and enhanced surveillance under various combinations of slaughter, surveillance, and vaccination. We also consider different disease introduction points at a large feedlot, a backgrounder feedlot, a large grazing herd, and a backyard herd all in the Texas High Plains. In terms of disease mitigation strategies we evaluate the economic effectiveness of: 1. Speeding up initial detection by one week from day 14 to day 7 after initial infection; 2. Speeding up vaccine availability from one week post disease detection to the day of disease detection; 3.Doubling post event surveillance intensity. To examine the economic implications of these strategies we use a two component stochastic framework. The first component is the epidemiologic model that simulates the spread of FMD as affected by control policies and introduction scenarios. The second component is an economics module, which calculates an estimate of cattle industry losses plus the costs of implementing disease control. The results show that early detection of the disease is the most effective mechanism for minimizing the costs of outbreak. Under some circumstances enhanced surveillance also proved to be an effective strategy.

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