Bayesian analysis of experimental epidemics of foot-and-mouth disease

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Abstract

We investigate the transmission dynamics of a certain type of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) virus under experimental conditions. Previous analyses of experimental data from FMD outbreaks in non-homogeneously mixing populations of sheep have suggested a decline in viraemic level through serial passage of the virus, but these do not take into account possible variation in the length of the chain of viral transmission for each animal, which is implicit in the non-observed transmission process. We consider a susceptible-exposed- infectious-removed non-Markovian compartmental model for partially observed epidemic processes, and we employ powerful methodology (Markov chain Monte Carlo) for statistical inference, to address epidemiological issues under a Bayesian framework that accounts for all available information and associated uncertainty in a coherent approach. The analysis allows us to investigate the posterior distribution of the hidden transmission history of the epidemic, and thus to determine the effect of the length of the infection chain on the recorded viraemic levels, based on the posterior distribution of a p-value. Parameter estimates of the epidemiological characteristics of the disease are also obtained. The results reveal a possible decline in viraemia in one of the two experimental outbreaks. Our model also suggests that individual infectivity is related to the level of viraemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1117
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume271
Issue number1544
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2004

Keywords

  • Bayesian inference
  • Foot-and-mouth disease
  • Markov chain Monte Carlo
  • Stochastic epidemic modelling
  • Transmission chain

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