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

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Mark Shirley, Professor Stephen Rushton


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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. © 2005 Cambridge University Press.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shirley MDF, Rushton SP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Epidemiology and Infection

Year: 2005

Volume: 133

Issue: 6

Pages: 1023-1032

Print publication date: 01/12/2005

ISSN (print): 0950-2688

ISSN (electronic): 1469-4409

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S095026880500453X

PubMed id: 16274498


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