Disease transmission on fragmented contact networks: Livestock-associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the Danish pig-industry

M. Ciccolini*, J. Dahl, M. E. Chase-Topping, M. E. J. Woolhouse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Animal trade in industrialised livestock-production systems creates a complex, heterogeneous, contact network that shapes between-herd transmission of infectious diseases. We report the results of a simple mathematical model that explores patterns of spread and persistence of livestock-associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) in the Danish pig-industry associated with this trade network. Simulations show that LA-MRSA can become endemic sustained by animal movements alone. Despite the extremely low predicted endemic prevalence, eradication may be difficult, and decreasing within-farm prevalence, or the time it takes a LA-MRSA positive farm to recover a negative status, fails to break long-term persistence. Our results suggest that a low level of non-movement induced transmission strongly affects MRSA dynamics, increasing endemic prevalence and probability of persistence. We also compare the model-predicted risk of 291 individual farms becoming MRSA positive, with results from a recent Europe-wide survey of LA-MRSA in holdings with breeding pigs, and find a significant correlation between contact-network connectivity properties and the model-estimated risk measure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalEpidemics
Volume4
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012

Keywords

  • PERSISTENCE
  • Livestock movement network
  • MRSA ST398
  • EPIDEMIC THRESHOLD
  • MRSA
  • FARMS
  • SIZE DIRECTED NETWORKS
  • LA-MRSA
  • SPREAD
  • Mathematical model
  • ANIMAL MOVEMENTS
  • HERDS

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