School of BioSciences - Research Publications

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    The economic benefits of targeted response strategies against foot-and-mouth disease in Australia.
    Seitzinger, AH ; Hafi, A ; Addai, D ; Garner, G ; Bradhurst, R ; Breed, AC ; Capon, T ; Miller, C ; Pinol, J ; Tapsuwan, S (Elsevier BV, 2022-07)
    Recent developments in control of highly infectious diseases attempt to improve emergency response efforts by more clearly focusing or targeting response tools according to risk. For example, advances in surveillance testing and sampling deliver their results by more accurately and precisely targeting the population of interest. In this work, targeted implementation of trading zones and vaccination were examined for simulated outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Australia. Trading zones allowing unaffected Australian states to resume exports following an outbreak of FMD were assessed using multiple tools. A Victorian incursion scenario with traditional stamping out and vaccination as control options, was simulated using the AADIS model Version 2.47, to characterise the geographic extent of potential outbreaks, the number of animals infected, and the date of last cull indicating duration of the outbreak. Information on disease spread from the AADIS simulations was then used to identify the boundaries of trading zones for the incursion scenario, in which vaccination with trading zones was found to further reduce disease impacts relative to stamping out alone with trading zones. The number of animals culled due to disease provided supply shocks for stamping out alone and vaccinate-to-retain, while the number of vaccinated animals was added to the number of animals culled due to disease for the supply shock of vaccinate-to-remove. The day of last cull was combined with historical FMD trade recovery and Australian export data to estimate the share of Australian exports that would be embargoed under trading zones. The market impacts - changes in equilibrium quantities and prices - of the supply shock, trading zones, and consumer reactions - were simulated within ABARES' AgEmissions partial equilibrium model of Australian agriculture. For this simulated large outbreak, where vaccinate-to-remove was utilised along with trading zones, producer losses were reduced by AUD 4 billion in present value terms over 10 years estimated at a 7% discount rate (PV10,7%) compared to an outbreak where stamping out alone is applied with trading zones. Introducing FMD virus risk mitigation measures for wool to further target trading zones reduced the economic impacts by an additional AUD 3.6 billion (PV10,7%). Outbreak response cost savings and additional potential costs under vaccinate-to-retain with trading zones were also compared to the vaccinate-to-remove control with trading zones. Results emphasised the importance of outbreak characteristics in determining trading zones and targeting of vaccination. Economic analyses identified how additional investments in targeting outbreak response is of value to producers.
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    A hybrid modeling approach to simulating foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks in Australian livestock
    Bradhurst, RA ; Roche, SE ; East, IJ ; Kwan, P ; Garner, MG (Frontiers Media, 2015)
    Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious and economically important viral disease of cloven-hoofed animals. Australia's freedom from FMD underpins a valuable trade in live animals and animal products. An outbreak of FMD would result in the loss of export markets and cause severe disruption to domestic markets. The prevention of, and contingency planning for, FMD are of key importance to government, industry, producers and the community. The spread and control of FMD is complex and dynamic due to a highly contagious multi-host pathogen operating in a heterogeneous environment across multiple jurisdictions. Epidemiological modeling is increasingly being recognized as a valuable tool for investigating the spread of disease under different conditions and the effectiveness of control strategies. Models of infectious disease can be broadly classified as: population-based models that are formulated from the top-down and employ population-level relationships to describe individual-level behavior; individual-based models that are formulated from the bottom-up and aggregate individual-level behavior to reveal population-level relationships; and hybrid models which combine the two approaches into a single model. The Australian Animal Disease Spread (AADIS) hybrid model employs a deterministic equation-based model (EBM) to model within-herd spread of FMD, and a stochastic, spatially-explicit agent-based model (ABM) to model between-herd spread and control. The EBM provides concise and computationally efficient predictions of herd prevalence and clinical signs over time. The ABM captures the complex, stochastic and heterogeneous environment in which an FMD epidemic operates. The AADIS event-driven hybrid EBM/ABM architecture is a flexible, efficient and extensible framework for modeling the spread and control of disease in livestock on a national scale. We present an overview of the AADIS hybrid approach, a description of the model's epidemiological capabilities, and a sample case study comparing two strategies for the control of FMD that illustrates some of AADIS's functionality.
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    Improving the computational efficiency of an agent-based spatiotemporal model of livestock disease spread and control
    Bradhurst, RA ; Roche, SE ; East, IJ ; Kwan, P ; Garner, MG (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2016-03-01)
    Agent-based models (ABMs) are well suited to representing the spatiotemporal spread and control of disease in a population. The explicit modelling of individuals in a large population, however, can be computationally intensive, especially when models are stochastic and/or spatially-explicit. Large-scale ABMs often require a highly parallel platform such as a high-performance computing cluster, which tends to confine their utility to university, defence and scientific research environments. This poses a challenge for those interested in modelling the spread of disease on a large scale with access only to modest hardware platforms.The Australian Animal DISease (AADIS) model is a spatiotemporal ABM of livestock disease spread and control. The AADIS ABM is able to complete complex national-scale simulations of disease spread and control on a personal computer. Computational efficiency is achieved through a hybrid model architecture that embeds equation-based models inside herd agents, an asynchronous software architecture, and a grid-based spatial indexing scheme.
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    Early Decision Indicators for Foot-and-Mouth Disease Outbreaks in Non-Endemic Countries
    Garner, MG ; East, IJ ; Stevenson, M ; Sanson, RL ; Rawdon, TG ; Bradhurst, RA ; Roche, SE ; Van Ha, P ; Kompas, T (Frontiers Media, 2016)
    This Research Topic presents valuable studies presenting different aspects and implementations of mathematical modeling for disease spread and control in the veterinary field.
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    Economic benefits of implementing trading zones for Australian livestock disease outbreaks of limited duration
    Hafi, A ; Addai, D ; Breed, AC ; Bradhurst, R ; Capon, T ; Garner, MG ; Miller, C ; Pinol, J ; Seitzinger, AH ; Tapsuwan, S (Wiley, 2022-01-20)
    OBJECTIVE: The objective is to estimate the economic benefits of trading zones as part of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) control measures for limited duration outbreaks. DESIGN: The proposed trading zones for FMD at the state level are determined using multiple tools. Eleven individual incursion scenarios in six Australian states are simulated within the Australian Animal Disease Spread epidemiological model to identify the potential geographic extent of outbreaks, as well as the number of animals infected and the duration of outbreaks. The disease spread information is used to identify the boundaries of trading zones. The outbreak duration data are combined with historical export data to estimate the share of Australian exports that could be embargoed. The market impacts of the potential export embargoes including changes in equilibrium quantities, prices and revenue are simulated within the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences' AgEmissions partial equilibrium model of Australian agriculture. RESULTS: Results emphasize the importance of jurisdictional and outbreak characteristics in determining trading zones. Should Australia effectively implement trading zones at the state level in response to small FMD outbreaks, the potential reductions of embargoed exports lead to a reduction in estimated producer revenue losses compared with losses under a national embargo. Producer revenue losses are reduced between $3 billion and $9 billion estimated in present value terms over 10 years at a 7% discount rate. CONCLUSION: Economic analysis of the implications of trading zones identifies additional investments that would be of value to livestock industries.
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    Development of a transboundary model of livestock disease in Europe
    Bradhurst, R ; Garner, G ; Hóvári, M ; de la Puente, M ; Mintiens, K ; Yadav, S ; Federici, T ; Kopacka, I ; Stockreiter, S ; Kuzmanova, I ; Paunov, S ; Cacinovic, V ; Rubin, M ; Szilágyi, J ; Kókány, ZS ; Santi, A ; Sordilli, M ; Sighinas, L ; Spiridon, M ; Potocnik, M ; Sumption, K (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 2021)
    Epidemiological models of notifiable livestock disease are typically framed at a national level and targeted for specific diseases. There are inherent difficulties in extending models beyond national borders as details of the livestock population, production systems and marketing systems of neighbouring countries are not always readily available. It can also be a challenge to capture heterogeneities in production systems, control policies, and response resourcing across multiple countries, in a single transboundary model. In this paper we describe EuFMDiS, a continental-scale modelling framework for transboundary animal disease, specifically designed to support emergency animal disease planning in Europe. EuFMDiS simulates the spread of livestock disease within and between countries and allows control policies to be enacted and resourced on per-country basis. It provides a sophisticated decision support tool that can be used to look at the risk of disease introduction, establishment and spread; control approaches in terms of effectiveness and costs; resource management; and post-outbreak management issues.
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    Modelling the spread and control of African swine fever in domestic and feral pigs
    Bradhurst, R ; Garner, G ; Roche, S ; Iglesias, R ; Kung, N ; Robinson, B ; Willis, S ; Cozens, M ; Richards, K ; Cowled, B ; Oberin, M ; Tharle, C ; Firestone, S ; Stevenson, M (University of Melbourne, 2021)
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    Development of a transboundary model of livestock disease in Europe
    Bradhurst, R ; Garner, G ; Hovari, M ; de la Puente, M ; Mintiens, K ; Yadav, S ; Federici, T ; Kopacka, I ; Stockreiter, S ; Kuzmanova, I ; Paunov, S ; Cacinovic, V ; Rubin, M ; Szilagyi, J ; Kokany, ZS ; Santi, A ; Sordilli, M ; Sighinas, L ; Spiridon, M ; Potocnik, M ; Sumption, K (WILEY, 2021-07-16)
    Epidemiological models of notifiable livestock disease are typically framed at a national level and targeted for specific diseases. There are inherent difficulties in extending models beyond national borders as details of the livestock population, production systems and marketing systems of neighbouring countries are not always readily available. It can also be a challenge to capture heterogeneities in production systems, control policies, and response resourcing across multiple countries, in a single transboundary model. In this paper, we describe EuFMDiS, a continental-scale modelling framework for transboundary animal disease, specifically designed to support emergency animal disease planning in Europe. EuFMDiS simulates the spread of livestock disease within and between countries and allows control policies to be enacted and resourced on a per-country basis. It provides a sophisticated decision support tool that can be used to look at the risk of disease introduction, establishment and spread; control approaches in terms of effectiveness and costs; resource management; and post-outbreak management issues.
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    Comparing surveillance approaches to support regaining free status after a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak
    Garner, G ; Vosloo, W ; Tapsuwan, S ; Bradhurst, R ; Seitzinger, AH ; Breed, AC ; Capon, T (ELSEVIER, 2021-08-02)
    Following an FMD eradication program, surveillance will be required to demonstrate that the program has been successful. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) provides guidelines including waiting periods and appropriate surveillance to support regaining FMD-free status. Serological surveillance is the recommended method for demonstrating freedom but is time consuming and expensive. New technologies such as real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) tests and sampling techniques such as bulk milk testing (BMT) of dairy cattle, oral swabs, and saliva collection with rope tethers in piggeries could enable surveillance to be done more efficiently. Epidemiological modelling was used to simulate FMD outbreaks, with and without emergency vaccination as part of the response, in Australia. Baseline post-outbreak surveillance approaches for unvaccinated and vaccinated animals based on the European FMD directive were compared with alternative approaches in which the sampling regime, sampling approaches and/or the diagnostic tests used were varied. The approaches were compared in terms of the resources required, time taken, cost, and effectiveness i.e., ability of the surveillance regime to correctly identify the infection status of herds. In the non-vaccination scenarios, the alternative approach took less time to complete and cost less, with the greatest benefits seen with larger outbreaks. In vaccinated populations, the alternative surveillance approaches significantly reduced the number of herds sampled, the total number of tests done and costs of the post-outbreak surveillance. There was no reduction in effectiveness using the alternative approaches, with one of the benefits being a reduction in the number of false positive herds. Alternative approaches to FMD surveillance based on non-invasive sampling methods and RT-qPCR tests have the potential to enable post outbreak surveillance substantiating FMD freedom to be done more quickly and less expensively than traditional approaches based on serological surveys.
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    Post-outbreak surveillance strategies to support proof of freedom from foot-and-mouth disease
    Bradhurst, R ; Garner, G ; East, I ; Death, C ; Dodd, A ; Kompas, T ( 2021-04-28)
    Abstract Whilst emergency vaccination may help contain foot-and-mouth disease in a previously FMD-free country, its use complicates post-outbreak surveillance and the recovery of FMD-free status. A structured surveillance program is required that can distinguish between vaccinated and residually infected animals, and provide statistical confidence that the virus is no longer circulating in previously infected areas. Epidemiological models have been well-used to investigate the potential benefits of emergency vaccination during a control progam and when/where/whom to vaccinate in the face of finite supplies of vaccine and personnel. Less well studied are post-outbreak issues such as the management of vaccinated animals and the implications of having used vaccination during surveillance regimes to support proof-of-freedom. This paper presents enhancements to the Australian Animal Disease Model (AADIS) that allow comparisons of different post-outbreak surveillance sampling regimes for establishing proof-of-freedom from FMD. A case study is provided that compares a baseline surveillance sampling regime (derived from current OIE guidelines), with an alternative less intensive sampling regime. It was found that when vaccination was not part of the control program, a reduced sampling intensity significantly reduced the number of samples collected and the cost of the post-outbreak surveillance program, without increasing the risk of missing residual infected herds.