Quantification of the transmission of classical swine fever virus between herds during the 1997-1998 epidemic in the Netherlands

A. Stegeman, A.R.W. Elbers, J. Smak, M.C.M. de Jong

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In this study, we describe a method to quantify the transmission of Classical Swine Fever Virus (CSFV) between herds from data collected during the 1997–1998 epidemic in the Netherlands. From the contacts between infected herds and the serological findings shortly before depopulation, we estimated the week of virus introduction and the length of the period over which the herd emitted virus for each CSFV-infected herd. From these data, we estimated the infection-rate parameter β (the average number of herds infected by one infectious herd during one week) and the herd reproduction ratio, Rh (the average total number of secondary outbreaks caused by one infectious herd, i.e. in its entire infectious period), using a SIR-model for different sets of CSF control measures. When Rh > 1, an epidemic continues to grow. On the other hand, when Rh < 1 an epidemic will fade out. During the phase before the first outbreak was diagnosed and no specific measures had been implemented, β was estimated at 1.09 and Rh at 6.8. In the subsequent phase infected herds were depopulated, movement restrictions were implemented, infected herds were traced forward and backward and the herds in the protection and surveillance zones were clinically inspected by the veterinary authorities (regional screening). This set of measures significantly reduced β to 0.38. However, Rh was 1.3 and thus still >1. Consequently, the number of outbreaks continued to grow. After a number of additional measures were implemented, the value of Rh was reduced to 0.5 and the epidemic came to an end. These measures included pre-emptive slaughter of herds that had been in contact with infected herds or were located near an infected herd, increased hygienic procedures, replacement of transports of pigs for welfare reasons by killing of young piglets and a breeding ban, and regional screening for CSF-infected herds by local veterinary practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-234
JournalPreventive Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Between-herds
  • Classical swine fever
  • Epidemic
  • Measures
  • Transmission


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