Simulation of cross-border impacts resulting from classical swine fever epidemics within the Netherlands and Germany.
The cross-border region of the Netherlands (NL) and the two German states of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) and Lower Saxony (LS) is a large and highly integrated livestock production area. This region increasingly develops towards a single epidemiological area in which disease introduction is a shared veterinary and, consequently, economic risk. The objectives of this study were to examine classical swine fever (CSF) control strategies' veterinary and direct economic impacts for NL, NRW and LS given the current production structure and to analyse CSF's cross-border causes and impacts within the NL-NRW-LS region. The course of the epidemic was simulated by the use of InterSpread Plus, whereas economic analysis was restricted to calculating disease control costs and costs directly resulting from the control measures applied. Three veterinary control strategies were considered: a strategy based on the minimum EU requirements, a vaccination and a depopulation strategy based on NL and GER's contingency plans. Regardless of the veterinary control strategy, simulated outbreak sizes and durations for 2010 were much smaller than those simulated previously, using data from over 10 years ago. For example, worst-case outbreaks (50th percentile) in NL resulted in 30-40 infected farms and lasted for two to four and a half months; associated direct costs and direct consequential costs ranged from Euro 24.7 to 28.6 million and Euro 11.7 to 26.7 million, respectively. Both vaccination and depopulation strategies were efficient in controlling outbreaks, especially large outbreaks, whereas the EU minimum strategy was especially deficient in controlling worst-case outbreaks. Both vaccination and depopulation strategies resulted in low direct costs and direct consequential costs. The probability of cross-border disease spread was relatively low, and cross-border spread resulted in small, short outbreaks in neighbouring countries. Few opportunities for further cross-border harmonization and collaboration were identified, including the implementation of cross-border regions (free and diseased regions regardless of the border) in case of outbreaks within close proximity of the border, and more and quicker sharing of information across the border. It was expected, however, that collaboration to mitigate the market effects of an epidemic will create more opportunities to lower the impact of CSF outbreaks in a cross-border context.