From network analysis to risk analysis-An approach to risk-based surveillance for bovine tuberculosis in Minnesota, US

J. Ribeiro-Lima, E. A. Enns, B. Thompson, M. E. Craft, S. J. Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) was first detected in 2005 in cattle in northwestern Minnesota (MN) through slaughter surveillance. By the end of 2008, 12 cattle herds were infected with bTB, and the main cause for infection was determined to be the movement of infected animals between herds. Bovine tuberculosis was contained in a smaller area in northwestern Minnesota classified as modified accredited (MA), corresponding to a prevalence inferior to 0.1% in cattle. From January 2008 to 2011, all cattle movements within the bTB MA were recorded electronically. The primary objectives of this study were to characterize cattle movements within this region and identify cattle herds with higher risk of bTB introduction based on network parameters and known risk factors from the published literature. During the period that data was collected, 57,460 cattle were moved in 3762 movements corresponding to permits issued to 682 premises, mostly representing private farms, sale yards, slaughter facilities and county or state fairs. Although sale yards represented less than 2% of the premises (nodes), 60% of the movements were to or from a sale yard. The network showed an overall density of 0.4%, a clustering coefficient of 14.6% and a betweenness centralization index of 12.7%, reflecting the low connectivity of this cattle network. The degree distribution showed that 20% of nodes performed 90% of the movements. Farms were ranked based on the total risk score and divided into high, medium, and low risk groups based on the score and its variability. The higher risk group included 14% (. n=. 50) of the farms, corresponding to 80% of the cumulative risk for the farms in the bTB area. This analysis provides a baseline description about the contact structure of cattle movements in an area previously infected with bTB and develops a framework for a targeted surveillance approach for bTB to support future surveillance decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-340
Number of pages13
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by a grant from the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center Faculty Research Development Program ( FRD #11.18. ). We greatly acknowledge the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and its director, Dr. William Hartman, for the data sharing and willingness to collaborate.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier B.V.


  • Bovine tuberculosis
  • Cattle movements
  • Network analysis
  • Targeted surveillance


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