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Transmission parameters of the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic in Great Britain.

Abstract

Despite intensive ongoing research, key aspects of the spatial-temporal evolution of the 2001 foot and mouth disease (FMD) epidemic in Great Britain (GB) remain unexplained. Here we develop a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method for estimating epidemiological parameters of the 2001 outbreak for a range of simple transmission models. We make the simplifying assumption that infectious farms were completely observed in 2001, equivalent to assuming that farms that were proactively culled but not diagnosed with FMD were not infectious, even if some were infected. We estimate how transmission parameters varied through time, highlighting the impact of the control measures on the progression of the epidemic. We demonstrate statistically significant evidence for assortative contact patterns between animals of the same species. Predictive risk maps of the transmission potential in different geographic areas of GB are presented for the fitted models.

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