The impact of compartmentalised housing on direct encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) transmission among pigs; insight from a model

Huibert Maurice, Hans-Hermann Thulke, Julia Sabine Schmid, Arjan Stegeman, Mirjam Nielen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Although generally considered a rodent virus, pigs sometimes were suggested a potential reservoir host for encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV), implying pig-to-pig transmission can cause major outbreaks in a pig population (basic reproduction ratio, R0>1). An earlier experimental study on EMCV transmission among pigs was inconclusive in this respect (R0≈1.24; CI 0.4-4.4). In this study we used a simulation model to extrapolate the experimental results to commercial, compartmentalised pig housings and tested to what extend contacts between pigs in different pens needed to be reduced in order to prevent major outbreaks in a compartment following a single introduction. The final size of simulated outbreaks was measured and the probability to observe outbreaks that affected at least 50 or 80% of the pens was calculated. Simulation scenarios compare one homogeneously mixing compartment (no fence) to epidemiological theory and an increasing effect of fencing on the pig-to-pig transmission between pigs in neighbouring pens. For any R0<1.24 the probability to observe outbreaks affecting more than 50% of the pens remained below 10% if compartmentalisation was introduced leaving per capita transmission rate unchanged. If fences also reduced contact transmission the probability to observe major outbreaks was below 50% for any R0<2.7. Only for R0>4, major outbreaks occurred with more than 50% chance even if only minimal contact between adjacent pens was allowed. In conclusion the results suggested that in a compartmentalised pig housing one single EMCV introduction is unlikely to cause a major outbreak by direct pig-to-pig transmission alone. Other mechanisms e.g. multiple introductions from a rodent reservoir may be required for large outbreaks to occur.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-12
    Number of pages8
    JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Encephalomyocarditis virus
    • Emcv
    • Pigs
    • Rodent reservoir
    • Transmission model
    • Final size
    • Compartmentalisation
    • Model alignment
    • Individual-based


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