A framework for categorization of economic impacts of outbreaks of highly contagious livestock diseases (HCLD) is presented. This framework interprets veterinary measures to control HCLD outbreaks with reference to economic definitions of costs and benefits, and the implications for value losses both for different stakeholders affected and society as a whole. Four cost categories are identified, that is virus control-related direct costs (DC), spread prevention and zoning-related direct consequential costs (DCC), market and price disruption-related costs during (indirect consequential costs, ICC) and after the outbreak (aftermath costs, AC). The framework is used to review existing literature on cost estimation for different stakeholders. This review shows considerable differences between studies, making comparison of results difficult and susceptible to misunderstanding. It is concluded that the framework provides a logical basis for all future analyses of the economic impacts of HCLD.