Europe has seen frequent outbreaks of Bluetongue (BT) disease since 2006, including an outbreak of BT virus serotype 8 in central France during 2015 that has continued to spread in Europe during 2016. Thus, assessing the potential for BTv-8 spread and determining the optimal deployment of vaccination is critical for contingency planning. We developed a spatially explicit mathematical model of BTv-8 spread in Scotland and explored the sensitivity of transmission to key disease spread parameters for which detailed empirical data is lacking. With parameters at mean values, there is little spread of BTv-8 in Scotland. However, under a “worst case” but still feasible scenario with parameters at the limits of their ranges and temperatures 1 °C warmer than the mean, we find extensive spread with 203,000 sheep infected given virus introduction to the south of Scotland between mid-May and mid-June. Strategically targeted vaccine interventions can greatly reduce BT spread. Specifically, despite BT having most clinical impact in sheep, we show that vaccination can have the greatest impact on reducing BTv infections in sheep when administered to cattle, which has implications for disease control policy.
Bessell, PR., Searle, KR., Auty, HK., Handel, IG., Purse, BV., & de C Bronsvoort, BM. (2016). Assessing the potential for Bluetongue virus 8 to spread and vaccination strategies in Scotland. Scientific Reports, 6(38940). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep38940