African swine fever detection and transmission estimates using homogeneous versus heterogeneous model formulation in stochastic simulations within pig premises

Article Authors: Amos Ssematimba1,2,†* , Sasidhar Malladi1,† , Peter J. Bonney1 , Kaitlyn M. St. Charles1 , Timothy C. Boyer3 , Timothy Goldsmith1 , Carol J. Cardona1 , Cesar A. Corzo1 and Marie R. Culhane


Background:African swine fever (ASF) is one of the most important foreign animal diseases to the U.S. swine industry. Stakeholders in the swine production sector are on high alert as they witness the devastation of ongoing outbreaks in some of its most important trade partner countries. Efforts to improve preparedness for ASF outbreak management are proceeding in earnest and mathematical modeling is an integral part of these efforts.
Aim: This study aimed to assess the impact on within-herd transmission dynamics of African swine fever (ASF) when the models used to simulate transmission assume there is homogeneous mixing of animals within a barn.
Methods: Barn-level heterogeneity was explicitly captured using a stochastic, individual pig-based, heterogeneous transmission model that considers three types of infection transmission, 1) within-pen via nose-to-nose contact; 2) between-pen via nose-to-nose contact with pigs in adjacent pens; and 3) both between- and within-pen via distance independent mechanisms (e.g., via fomites). Predictions were compared between the heterogeneous and the homogeneous Gillespie models.
Results: Results showed that the predicted mean number of infectious pigs at specific time points differed greatly between the homogeneous and heterogeneous models for scenarios with low levels of between pen contacts via distance independent pathways and the differences between the two model predictions were more pronounced for the slow contact rate scenario. The heterogeneous transmission model results also showed that it may take significantly longer to detect ASF, particularly in large barns when transmission predominantly occurs via nose-to-nose contact between pigs in adjacent pens.
Conclusion: The findings emphasize the need for completing preliminary explorations when working with homogeneous mixing models to ascertain their suitability to predict disease outcomes. [Open Vet J 2022; 12(6.000): 787-796]

Bibliographical metadata

Journal Open Veterinary Journal, (2022), Vol. 12(6): 787–79
Volume 12
Issue No. 6
Pages 787-796
ISSN 2226-4485 (Print) | 2218-6050 (Online)
Related Faculties/Schools

Secure Food Systems Team, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, Minnesota, 55108, USA 2
Department of Mathematics, Faculty of Science, Gulu University, Gulu, Uganda 3
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services, Science
Technology and Analysis Services, Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA

The authors contributed equally