Quantifying the potential for bluetongue virus transmission in Danish cattle farms

Haider, N and Kjær, L J and Skovgård, H and Nielsen, S A and Bødker, R (2019) Quantifying the potential for bluetongue virus transmission in Danish cattle farms. Scientific Reports (Nature), 9. p. 13466.

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We used a mechanistic transmission model to estimate the number of infectious bites (IBs) generated per bluetongue virus (BTV) infected host (cattle) using estimated hourly microclimatic temperatures at 22,004 Danish cattle farms for the period 2000–2016, and Culicoides midge abundance based on 1,453 light-trap collections during 2007–2016. We used a range of published estimates of the duration of the hosts’ infectious period and equations for the relationship between temperature and four key transmission parameters: extrinsic incubation period, daily vector survival rate, daily vector biting rate and host-to-vector transmission rate resulting in 147,456 combinations of daily IBs. More than 82% combinations of the parameter values predicted > 1 IBs per host. The mean IBs (10–90th percentiles) for BTV per infectious host were 59 (0–73) during the transmission period. We estimated a maximum of 14,954 IBs per infectious host at some farms, while a best-case scenario suggested transmission was never possible at some farms. The use of different equations for the vector survival rate and host-to-vector transmission rates resulted in large uncertainty in the predictions. If BTV is introduced in Denmark, local transmission is very likely to occur. Vectors infected as late as mid-September (early autumn) can successfully transmit BTV to a new host until mid-November (late autumn).

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