Epidemiology and Infection



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


M. D. F. SHIRLEY a1c1 and S. P. RUSHTON a1
a1 Institute for Research on Environment and Sustainability, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Article author query
shirley md   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
rushton sp   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

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.

(Published Online June 2 2005)
(Accepted March 22 2005)


Correspondence:
c1 Institute for Research on Environment and Sustainability, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 7RU, UK. (Email: m.d.f.shirley@ncl.ac.uk)


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