Relationship Between Clinical Signs and Transmission of an Infectious Disease and the Implications for Control

Bryan Charleston, Bartlomies M. Bankowski, Simon Gubbins, Margo E. Chase-Topping, David Schley, Richard Howey, Paul V. Barnett, Debi Gibson, Nicholas D. Juleff, Mark E. J. Woolhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Control of many infectious diseases relies on the detection of clinical cases and the isolation, removal, or treatment of cases and their contacts. The success of such "reactive" strategies is influenced by the fraction of transmission occurring before signs appear. We performed experimental studies of foot-and-mouth disease transmission in cattle and estimated this fraction at less than half the value expected from detecting virus in body fluids, the standard proxy measure of infectiousness. This is because the infectious period is shorter (mean 1.7 days) than currently realized, and animals are not infectious until, on average, 0.5 days after clinical signs appear. These results imply that controversial preemptive control measures may be unnecessary; instead, efforts should be directed at early detection of infection and rapid intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-729
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume332
Issue number6030
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2011

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