Characterization of livestock herds in extensive agricultural settings in southwest Texas
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Because of an ever-increasing threat of foreign animal disease outbreaks in the United States, there is a desire to develop strategies to prevent the occurrence of a foreign animal disease and control an outbreak if it does occur. Infectious disease models have been developed and are being used to determine reasonable mitigation strategies. However, little information is available concerning premises characteristics and movement of animals in extensively managed livestock areas. Hence adaptation of these models to areas where there is low livestock density is not easy. We collected empirical data, via mail out surveys, from an extensively managed livestock area. This will aid in improving the results of infectious disease models in these areas. In contrast to the intensively managed livestock that have previously been modeled, this study has shown that in areas of low livestock density, multiple livestock types often are managed on the same premises. Direct contacts, facilitated through the planned movement of animals, appear to have a greater seasonality in extensively managed areas as compared to intensively managed areas. Furthermore, wildlife contacts are likely and of potential importance. The results of this study add to the knowledge base used to model the spread of infectious disease in extensively managed livestock populations. Seasonal changes in animal densities and contact rates may impact the results of the models. Additionally, the effect of multiple livestock types on premises should be considered when the expected spread of disease is modeled in extensive livestock areas.
Dominguez, Brandon James (2007). Characterization of livestock herds in extensive agricultural settings in southwest Texas. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from