Control of emerging animal diseases critically depends on their early detection. However, designing surveillance programs for exotic and emerging diseases is very challenging because of knowledge gaps on the probability of incursion and mechanisms of spread. Using the example of Bluetongue Virus, which is exotic to the UK, we develop a metapopulation epidemic-economic modelling framework that considers the incursion, detection, spread and control of a disease in a livestock production system composed of heterogeneous subpopulations. The model is then embedded in an information gap (info-gap) framework to assess the robustness of surveillance and vaccination policies to unacceptable outbreaks losses and applied to the case of Bluetongue in the UK. The results show that active reporting of suspect clinical signs by farmers is a very robust way to reduce unacceptable outcomes. Vaccination of animals in high risk regions led to robustly protective programs. If vaccines are not available, surveillance targeted to the high risk region is very robust even if the extent of the high risk region is not known and effectiveness of detection is very low. Surveillance programs focusing in all regions with the same intensity are in general not robust unless the dispersal of the vector connecting both regions is very high.


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