Endemic cattle diseases: Comparative epidemiology and governance

David Carslake*, Wyn Grant, Laura E. Green, Jonathan Cave, Justin Greaves, Matt Keeling, John McEldowney, Habtu Weldegebriel, Graham F. Medley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Cattle are infected by a community of endemic pathogens with different epidemiological properties that invoke different managerial and governmental responses. We present characteristics of pathogens that influence their ability to persist in the UK, and describe a qualitative framework of factors that influence the political response to a livestock disease. We develop simple transmission models for three pathogens (bovine viral diarrhoea virus, bovine herpesvirus and Mycobacterium avium spp. paratuberculosis) using observed cattle movements, and compare the outcomes to an extensive dataset. The results demonstrate that the epidemiology of the three pathogens is determined by different aspects of within- and between-farm processes, which has economic, legal and political implications for control. We consider how these pathogens, and Mycobacterium bovis (the agent of bovine tuberculosis), may be classified by the process by which they persist and by their political profile. We further consider the dynamic interaction of these classifications with pathogen prevalence and with the action taken by the government.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1975-1986
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1573
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Bovine herpesvirus
  • Bovine viral diarrhoea virus
  • Governance
  • Mathematical models
  • Mycobacterium avium spp. paratuberculosis
  • Mycobacterium bovis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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