Exotic animal diseases are transboundary hazards, characterized by their capability to cover global distances, affecting animal health and welfare with significant economic losses. Their prevention is complex and requires the dynamic management of potential entry points, transmission pathways, and preventative barriers. The welltimed detection of an undefined or unexpected (exotic or re-emerging) threat could minimize the consequences due to onward transmission. As a fit for purpose framework, OIE developed the import risk assessment i.e. a risk assessment model focusing on the entrance of an exotic disease into a geographical area with naïve hosts. In this paper, we propose an improvement of the model by integrating it with Social Network Analysis (SNA) accounting for within-country animal movements. Our integrated model has been used as a combined tool to better estimate the spatial probability of the introduction of at least one affected animal in Italian provinces using Bluetongue (BT) as an example. Starting from international country-specific BT prevalence data, the model estimated the probability of introduction to Italy via two different routes of release i.e. the import of infected animals or the release of infected vectors either associated with imported livestock or through windborne dispersion from Africa. The conventional OIE model estimating the probability of BT entering Italy assuming the same release probability for every Italian province was paralleled by a model integrated with outputs from SNA to account for different release probability among provinces based on animal movements. The conventional model predicted a remarkable homogeneity in the risk among the provinces with some peaks only visible during the warmest months. The model incorporating the network analysis predicted the highest risk to be in the North Eastern region of Italy but also highlighted the likely occurrence in a couple of Southern provinces, an output mirroring past occurrence of BT in Italy. Moreover, the sensitivity analysis highlighted the main role for a couple of model parameters i.e. the probability for a vector to become infected and the vaccine coverage, thus suggesting that an extra effort in vaccine campaigns could be envisaged. The ability to measure animal movements by SNA can allow the identification of geographical risk hot spots and therefore the risk-based targeting of the surveillance system.
|Titolo:||Social network analysis and risk assessment: An example of introducing an exotic animal disease in Italy|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2019|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.mran.2019.04.001|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|