Foot-and-Mouth Disease control costs compared: An Irish case study
ABSTRACT The primary objective of this paper is to evaluate alternative control strategies for a number of simulated outbreaks of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in four agriculturally diverse Irish regions, examining for the first time, the potential role of emergency vaccination in the country. The recent EU Directive (2003/85/EC) on FMD control permits the use of emergency vaccination as part of an FMD control strategy. While the slaughter of infected animals and dangerous contacts (susceptible animals on epidemiologically linked holdings) remains the principal tool for tackling an outbreak, the potential use of vaccination as an adjunct to the basic culling policy is now being considered. Using an integrated approach, combining epidemiological and economic modules, the alternatives of stamping-out both alone and in conjunction with emergency vaccination are examined using hypothetical outbreaks and their control costs compared. Overall, it cannot be said, a priori, that one control option is better than the other. Choice of control strategy would appear to be highly dependent on herd density, production type and other region specific issues. This analysis has focused on control costs only; taking wider economy costs into account may however change this overall conclusion.
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ABSTRACT: The efficient management of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) epidemics in France was examined through a simulation model which combines epidemiological and economic modules. From the reactions of the importing countries in terms of the products subject to import bans and the regionalization commitments, the economic module assesses the financial consequences of FMD outbreaks borne not only by the breeding sector but also by the other economic sectors on regional and national levels. Among the control options for FMD, the strategy of stamping out infected herds and dangerous in-contact herds most often contributes to reducing the economic consequences of FMD epidemics. Implementing a campaign of emergency vaccination is socially optimal if the additional export losses associated with the delay of slaughtering the vaccinated animals are offset by the gains of reducing the duration of the FMD epidemic. The importance of reducing as much as possible the total duration of the import bans is stressed by the estimated cost of an extra week of import bans. The optimal control strategy was unaffected by the introduction of stochastic parameters.Preventive Veterinary Medicine 11/1999; 47(1-2):23-38. · 2.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recent international initiatives regarding zoning in response to outbreaks of major animal diseases such foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) suggest the need to assess the role of regional factors in determining the impact of such outbreaks and in planning appropriate control strategies. Four control options for FMD, involving stamping-out, dangerous contact slaughter and early or late ring vaccination, in three different regions of Australia were evaluated. A stochastic disease simulation model was used to generate outbreak scenarios and an economic model converted outbreak effects on farming and processing operations, and subsequent effects of control programs, into financial estimates of direct and indirect economic impacts. The results, while showing considerable regional variation in the size of impacts, demonstrate the benefits of continuing a slaughter policy for FMD in Australia. Slaughter of dangerous contact herds as well as infected herds reduced the economic impact and was most effective under conditions where FMD is likely to spread rapidly. Ring vaccination, particularly if used early, was effective in reducing the size and duration of outbreaks, but under the assumptions of the study was uneconomic when compared with stamping-out alone.Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 01/1995;
Foot-and-Mouth Disease control costs compared: An Irish case study.
Emma Dillon,1, 2Alan Matthews,2Fiona Thorne.3
Paper presented at the Agricultural Economics Society 81stAnnual Conference,
University of Reading, 2nd– 4thApril 2007.
1Rural Economy Research Centre, Teagasc, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland.
2University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.
3Rural Economy Research Centre, Teagasc, Malahide Rd., Dublin 17, Ireland.
*Corresponding author – Emma Dillon, Rural Economy Research Centre, Teagasc, Athenry, Co. Galway.
The primary objective of this paper is to evaluate alternative control strategies for a
number of simulated outbreaks of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in four agriculturally
diverse Irish regions, examining for the first time, the potential role of emergency
vaccination in the country.The recent EU Directive (2003/85/EC) on FMD control
permits the use of emergency vaccination as part of an FMD control strategy. While the
slaughter of infected animals and “dangerous contacts” (susceptible animals on
epidemiologically linked holdings) remains the principal tool for tackling an outbreak,
the potential use of vaccination as an adjunct to the basic culling policy is now being
considered.Using an integrated approach, combining epidemiological and economic
modules, the alternatives of stamping-out both alone and in conjunction with emergency
vaccination are examined using hypothetical outbreaks and their control costs compared.
Overall, it cannot be said, a priori, that one control option is better than the other. Choice
of control strategy would appear to be highly dependent on herd density, production type
and other region specific issues. This analysis has focused on control costs only; taking
wider economy costs into account may however change this overall conclusion.
This research was funded by a Teagasc Walsh Fellowship and a Government of Ireland Scholarship,
awarded by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Special thanks go to the
NAADSM team for their input, in particular Francisco J. Zagmutt-Vergara of Colorado State University,
USA.Many thanks also go to Prof. Simon More and Guy McGrath CVERA (Centre for Veterinary
Epidemiology and Risk Analysis) University College Dublin for their advice and the provision of data.
Finally the assistance of staff at the Department of Agriculture and Food, Dublin, the Department of
Economics, Trinity College and Prof. Martin Upton, University of Reading, is acknowledged.
Keywords: Foot-and-Mouth disease; alternative control strategies; transboundary animal diseases;
JEL subject codes: Q1; Q17; Q58.
“Epidemiology and economics are separate scientific areas but are very much complementary when the
goal is the efficient management of animal health.”(FAO-Food & Agricultural Organisation of the UN)
FMD is one of the list A diseases (most infectious and economically damaging) of the
OIE (Office International des Epizooties - World Organisation for Animal Health).
Following the 2001 Irish outbreak, after a lapse of sixty years, the vulnerability of the
farm and non-farm economy to the threat of exotic livestock diseases was exposed.
There has been somestudy of the economic consequences of the outbreak;1however little
emphasis has been placed on an evaluation of control and eradication strategies. FMD is
a highly contagious livestock disease with significant repercussions for livestock
producers particularly in terms of productivity and trade effects, with many other sectors
also being negatively affected by the measures which must be taken to control an
outbreak. The disease has the ability to spread rapidly and survive under a variety of
conditions and its control and eradication is hindered by the many ways in which it can
be spread. Following the 2001 outbreak in various EU Member States, there was severe
criticism throughout Europe of the culling policy used to contain the virus in the Member
States affected and attention has turned towards the strategic use of emergency
vaccination in the event of future outbreaks.
This paper examines the potential use of emergency vaccination in an Irish context, as an
adjunct to the basic slaughter policy, and explores the cost-effectiveness of the alternative
control strategies of stamping-out (SO) alone and stamping-out in conjunction with
emergency vaccination (SOEV). The new emphasis placed on emergency vaccination as
a disease control measure has been assisted by amendments to the OIE rules in May
2002, on the time required to regain FMD free status after the use of vaccination. Any
decision in a country to employ emergency vaccination as part of a future control strategy
would have to take account of the impact such a campaign would have on the trading
environment. As in 2001, the basic disease control policy in the event of a future
outbreak in Ireland would be the slaughter of susceptible animals on infected premises
and those identified as dangerous contacts. In the Irish case it is envisaged that vaccinates
would subsequently be slaughtered as this would result in fewer trade implications than if
vaccinates were allowed enter the food chain.
slaughtered, countries are officially allowed back into markets three months after the
slaughter of the last animal. If vaccinates are not slaughtered market access is restricted
for a further three months.2
Once vaccinates are subsequently
The epidemiological model of disease spread used in the analysis is the North American
Animal Disease Spread Model (NAADSM). The computable general equilibrium (CGE)
model GTAP (Global Trade Analysis Project) is then used to assess the economic effects
1O’Toole, Matthews & Mulvey (2001), OIE/FAO (2001), EU (2002), INDECON (2002)
2Although official timeframes are in place, in reality it can often take countries longer to regain market
of the disease and its subsequent control strategies on both the agricultural sector and the
wider economy. The effects on trade and tourism are examined in particular.
There are two main parts to the paper. The following section examines the epidemiology
of the disease and the legislative background; a synopsis of the 2001 outbreak is also
given. Section 3 outlines how by combining the epidemiological and economic modules
contained in NAADSM, direct control costs are compared in an Irish context for a
number of hypothetical outbreaks. Regions of differing herd density, production type,
and location within the country were chosen for study to assess how well both control
strategies would operate in a number of diverse areas.
A discussion of results then
FMD is, according to the classification of the OIE, the economically most important
infectious livestock disease, with very significant consequences for livestock producers,
related industries and consumers. It comes top of the list of all List A diseases which are
“Transmissible diseases that have the potential for very serious and rapid spread,
irrespective of national borders, that are of serious socio-economic or public health
consequence and that are of major importance in the international trade of animals and
It is one of the most contagious of viral animal diseases and is caused by strains of one or
more of the seven distinct serotypes of FMD virus, genus Aphthovirus, family
Picornaviridae. The seven serotypes – O, A, Asia 1, C, SAT1, SAT2, and SAT3 – have
different geographical distributions and vaccines protective against strains in one
serotype will normally not protect against strains from different serotypes and may not
protect against different strains within the same serotype. There are also several subtypes
within each. The infections caused by different serotypes are clinically indistinguishable.
The disease predominantly affects cloven-hoofed animals, affecting almost all farmed
species, hence its economic significance. If not controlled, it generally causes very high
morbidity within herds without causing high mortality in adult animals; however, it can
cause significant mortalities in young lambs and piglets. It is characterised by fever and
the formation of painful vesicles (fluid-filled blisters) and erosions in the mouth, nose,
teats and feet. As a result, it causes serious production losses and welfare problems (Dept.
of Agriculture and Food, 2003:3).
The most important characteristics in the epidemiology of the disease include the rapid
spread of the virus, its stability under a variety of conditions and the occurrence of
serotypes (Donaldson, 1991:34).Cattle are important in the epidemiology of FMD
because of their high susceptibility to airborne virus, because they may excrete the virus
for at least four days before the first symptoms appear, and because of their overall
economic importance. Even though sheep and goats can also be infected, their symptoms
are often less severe or are subclinical.
dissemination of the virus; once infected, they excrete vast quantities of the virus. They
also have a high susceptibility to infection by the oral route (Donaldson and Doel,
1994:51). Thus pigs can be described as amplifying hosts and cattle as indicators. Sheep
can be described as maintenance hosts because they quite often have mild or even
inapparent signs that can easily be missed (Donaldson and Doel, 1994:35).
Pigs are the most important source of air
FMD is a difficult disease to control and eradicate because of the various mechanisms by
which the virus can be transmitted (Sellers, 1971). Several factors affect the spread of
the disease.The most important are the species infected, the number of direct and
indirect contacts among animals (mainly movement of animals and humans), animal
density in the area, husbandry methods, environmental conditions, and delays in
identifying the disease and applying control measures. The most common mechanism is
the movement of infected animals to susceptible animals (Donaldson et al., 2002:4). The
rate of spread within a herd depends on the stocking density. The primary methods of
FMD transmission are aerosol, direct contact and ingestion.
transmission, movements of infected animals are by far the most important, followed by
movement of contaminated animal products. Once one or more animals in a herd have
been infected, the quantity of virus in the environment will be greatly amplified, and
transmission by different routes will be possible. The virus can be spread over long
distances by incubating or asymptomatic carrier animals; by vehicles such as feed trucks;
by birds, domestic animals, rodents and by fomites (inanimate communicators of
infection). Humans may inhale and harbour the virus in the respiratory tract for as long
as 24 hours, and may serve as a source of infection to animals (APHIS, 1991). Under
certain epidemiological and climatic conditions, FMD virus can be spread by the wind.
Of all mechanisms, spread by air is least controllable.
Of all mechanisms of
2.1 Legislative background
The advent of Denmark, Ireland and the UK to the European Community in 1973
foresaw considerable adjustments to the Intra-Community Trade Directive (64/432/EEC),
as these new Member States practised a non-vaccination policy for FMD.3This included
full stamping-out (SO) in the case of an outbreak, enabling them to retain their national
rules for protection against the disease. Other Member States continued their policy of
routine (annual) vaccination as before. The impossibility of continuing the differential
system of vaccination versus non-vaccination was immediately evident (Commission of
the European Communities, 1989:6).In 1985 the Council adopted Directive
(85/511/EEC) on the control of the disease throughout the Community and essential
common measures were laid down to deal with an outbreak in a uniform manner. With
the imminent completion of the single market, it was decided in 1989 that a cost-benefit
analysis of alternative control strategies for FMD be undertaken.
provided by the report, a non-vaccination policy was found to be safer and cheaper.
More than a decade later the debate has turned to whether or not emergency vaccination
should be adopted in the event of future outbreaks.
On the evidence
3Other Member States pursued a policy of annual (routine vaccination).
This section describes the most recent FMD Directive (2003/85/EC), which made
important amendments to the incomplete measures of Directive (85/511/EEC). It allows
the EU to maintain its internationally recognised status of “free from FMD without
(routine) vaccination”. The basic approach of eradicating FMD by culling of Infected
Premises and known dangerous contacts is retained but greater prominence is given to the
role of emergency vaccination as a control option for use alongside stamping out in some
circumstances; providing for “suppressive” vaccination,4which generally means that the
vaccinated animals would subsequently be killed and “protective” vaccination5which
would allow the vaccinated animals to live out their normal economic lives. A brief
summary of the Directive follows (Department of Agriculture, 2004):
a) The new Directive puts forward emergency vaccination as an important means of
controlling an epidemic of animal disease and lays down conditions for the possible
marketing of meat from animals vaccinated on Union territory during an outbreak of
b) It extends the Community requirements as regards contingency plans and requires
Member States to review them every five years in the light of real-time alert exercises;
c) It gives five separate criteria,6any of which may be used as the basis for declaring an
outbreak of FMD on a holding; this should help to set preventive measures in motion
d) It requires the Member States to introduce systems of penalties to be applied in cases
of infringement of the national provisions adopted pursuant to Community directives;
e) It requires Member States to provide information about the dates on which the
Community measures were implemented. This should enable the Commission to
determine the extent to which Community reimbursement is due.
2.2The 2001 outbreak
The speed, at which FMD of the Pan-Asia O type spread within the EU, particularly the
UK, in 2001, was unprecedented in the history of FMD, as was the scale of the outbreaks.
6.5m animals were slaughtered in the UK, 285,000 in the Netherlands, 63,000 in France
and 53,000 in Ireland. The presence of the disease was confirmed in the UK, France,
Ireland, and the Netherlands on the 21stFebruary and the 14th, 21stand 22ndMarch
4Suppressive vaccination - emergency vaccination which is carried out exclusively in conjunction with a
stamping-out policy in a holding or area where there is an urgent need to reduce the amount of foot-and-
mouth disease virus circulating and to reduce the risk of it spreading beyond the perimeters of the holding
or the area and where the animals are intended to be destroyed following vaccination (Article 2).
5Protective vaccination - emergency vaccination carried out on holdings in a designated area in order to
protect animals of susceptible species within this area against airborne spread or spread through fomites of
foot-and-mouth disease virus and where the animals are intended to be kept alive following vaccination
6See Appendix A