Simulation of between-farm transmission of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus in Ontario, Canada using the North American Animal Disease Spread Model

Krishna K. Thakur, Crawford W. Revie, Daniel Hurnik, Zvonimir Poljak, Javier Sanchez

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), a viral disease of swine, has major economic impacts on the swine industry. The North American Animal Disease Spread Model (NAADSM) is a spatial, stochastic, farm level state-transition modeling framework originally developed to simulate highly contagious and foreign livestock diseases. The objectives of this study were to develop a model to simulate between-farm spread of a homologous strain of PRRS virus in Ontario swine farms via direct (animal movement) and indirect (sharing of trucks between farms) contacts using the NAADSM and to compare the patterns and extent of outbreak under different simulated conditions. A total of 2552 swine farms in Ontario province were allocated to each census division of Ontario and geo-locations of the farms were randomly generated within the agriculture land of each Census Division. Contact rates among different production types were obtained using pig movement information from four regions in Canada. A total of 24 scenarios were developed involving various direct (movement of infected animals) and indirect (pig transportation trucks) contact parameters in combination with alternating the production type of the farm in which the infection was seeded. Outbreaks were simulated for one year with 1000 replications. The median number of farms infected, proportion of farms with multiple outbreaks and time to reach the peak epidemic were used to compare the size, progression and extent of outbreaks. Scenarios involving spread only by direct contact between farms resulted in outbreaks where the median percentage of infected farms ranged from 31.5 to 37% of all farms. In scenarios with both direct and indirect contact, the median percentage of infected farms increased to a range from 41.6 to 48.6%. Furthermore, scenarios with both direct and indirect contact resulted in a 44% increase in median epidemic size when compared to the direct contact scenarios. Incorporation of both animal movements and the sharing of trucks within the model indicated that the effect of direct and indirect contact may be nonlinear on outbreak progression. The increase of 44% in epidemic size when indirect contact, via sharing of trucks, was incorporated into the model highlights the importance of proper biosecurity measures in preventing transmission of the PRRS virus. Simulation of between-farm spread of the PRRS virus in swine farms has highlighted the relative importance of direct and indirect contact and provides important insights regarding the possible patterns and extent of spread of the PRRS virus in a completely susceptible population with herd demographics similar to those found in Ontario, Canada.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-426
Number of pages14
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • between-farm
  • infectious diseases
  • porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus
  • PRRS Virus
  • spread model
  • swine

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