Semiquantitative decision tools for FMD emergency vaccination informed by field observations and simulated outbreak data

Preben William Willeberg, Mohammad AlKhamis, Anette Boklund, Andres M. Perez, Claes Enøe, Tariq Halasa

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5 Scopus citations


We present two simple, semiquantitative model-based decision tools, based on the principle of first 14 days incidence (FFI). The aim is to estimate the likelihood and the consequences, respectively, of the ultimate size of an ongoing FMD epidemic. The tools allow risk assessors to communicate timely, objectively, and efficiently to risk managers and less technically inclined stakeholders about the potential of introducing FMD suppressive emergency vaccination. To explore the FFI principle with complementary field data, we analyzed the FMD outbreaks in Argentina in 2001, with the 17 affected provinces as the units of observation. Two different vaccination strategies were applied during this extended epidemic. In a series of 5,000 Danish simulated FMD epidemics, the numbers of outbreak herds at day 14 and at the end of the epidemics were estimated under different control strategies. To simplify and optimize the presentation of the resulting data for urgent decisions to be made by the risk managers, we estimated the sensitivity, specificity, as well as the negative and positive predictive values, using a chosen day-14 outbreak number as predictor of the magnitude of the number of remaining post-day-14 outbreaks under a continued basic control strategy. Furthermore, during an ongoing outbreak, the actual cumulative number of detected infected herds at day 14 will be known exactly. Among the number of epidemics lasting > 14 days out of the 5,000 simulations under the basic control scenario, we selected those with an assumed accumulated number of detected outbreaks at day 14. The distribution of the estimated number of detected outbreaks at the end of the simulated epidemics minus the number at day 14 was estimated for the epidemics lasting more than 14 days. For comparison, the same was done for identical epidemics (i.e., seeded with the same primary outbreak herds) under a suppressive vaccination scenario. The results indicate that, during the course of an FMD epidemic, simulated likelihood predictions of the remaining epidemic size and of potential benefits of alternative control strategies can be presented to risk managers and other stakeholders in objective and easily communicable ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number43
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - Mar 27 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was financially supported by the Directorate for Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries, Denmark (grant no. 3304-FVFP-07-782-01) and was conducted in collaboration with the EU Seventh Framework Program project FMD-DISCONVAC (grant agreement no. 226556). Additional support for PW's work was obtained through Cooperative Agreements 07-9208-0203-CA and 08-9208-0203-CA between University of California, Davis and USDA-APHIS.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Willeberg, AlKhamis, Boklund, Perez, Enøe and Halasa.


  • Disease control
  • Epidemics
  • Foot-and-Mouth Disease
  • Modeling
  • Risk communication

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