A gravity model approach to forecasting tuberculosis transmission in cattle
Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in cattle has caused significant economic losses to livestock producers and has proven difficult to eradicate. It is suspected that cattle movement across different farms and regions is one of the key factors of bTB transmission in the United States. Prior attempts to model the epidemiology of bTB infection within cattle to predict disease transmission have not adequately captured the behavioral aspects of trade. A better understanding of livestock trade patterns would help in predicting disease transmission and the associated economic effects. In this paper, we develop a gravity model of livestock trade and link it to an epidemiological model of bTB transmission, with the goal being that this information could lead to improved disease surveillance and management. Our findings suggest that feedbacks between jointly determined disease dynamics and trade system matter and should be considered together for efficient disease management.
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