Epidemiology

Research on dispersal models

The National Veterinary Institute DTU develops simulation models to study serious infectious diseases in order to understand their spread patterns, and to detect and control them as early as possible, in order to restrict losses due to the diseases. The models therefore often include economic analysis of strategies for fighting the diseases and to assist in setting up the contingency plan.

With precise models of the spread of infectious diseases, Danish cattle farmers and food producers will save a lot of money, because the authorities can act appropriately to a specific threat.

We work within the scientific field of Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics, which focuses on studying the dynamics of infectious animal diseases. The objective is to understand these diseases and to find the best ways to control and prevent them, in order to improve animal welfare and maintain a sustainable livestock production.

Big consequences

Animal diseases lead to reduced animal welfare, and they have major economic consequences. We work with diseases that are typically categorized as endemic such as mastitis (inflammation of the udder tissue), as well as exotic diseases (for Europe) such as foot-and-mouth disease. For example, we have developed a bio-economic model of mastitis, which has been used to examine the cost-effectiveness of actions taken toward both clinical and sub-clinical mastitis.

Furthermore, we have simulated a hypothetical spread of foot-and-mouth disease in Denmark using a simulation model and thereby studied which of more possible disease-fighting strategies would be the most cost-effective.

Research used directly on farms

In order to achieve the objectives of our research we use several methods and techniques, including simulation models, statistical analysis and modeling, spatial analysis, and economic analysis. We believe that research should focus on the challenges that exist in agriculture, which makes it possible to apply research results directly in the field. This can be done by having an active dialogue with relevant partners from the industry.

Moreover, research in our field should focus on identifying cheap methods to minimize the occurrence and consequences of disease, such as biosecurity and good monitoring systems. These initiatives are necessary to improve animal welfare and maintaining sustainable production systems, given the current and future global challenges facing the world when it comes to food and energy resources.

Relevant for the veterinary contingency plan

Our research is in particular relevant to the veterinary contingency plan in Denmark. The research can help provide the best level of contingency in relation to future outbreaks of livestock diseases and thereby also help identify the most cost-effective strategies both in the fight and control, but also in monitoring of diseases.

Senior Researcher

Tariq Hisham Beshara Halasa
Senior Researcher
DTU Vet
+45 35 88 61 02