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      Network analysis of pig movements in Argentina: Identification of key farms in the spread of infectious diseases and their biosecurity levels.

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          This study uses network analysis to evaluate how swine movements in Argentina could contribute to disease spread. Movement data for the 2014-2017 period were obtained from Argentina's online livestock traceability registry and categorized as follows: animals of high genetic value sent to other farms, animals to or from markets, animals sent to finisher operations and slaughterhouse. A network analysis was carried out considering the first three movement types. First, descriptive, centrality and cohesion measures were calculated for each movement type and year. Next, to determine whether networks had a small-world topology, these were compared with the results from random Erdös-Rényi network simulations. Then, the basic reproductive number (R0 ) of the genetic network, the group of farms with higher potential for disease spread standing at the top of the production chain, was calculated to identify farms acting as super-spreaders. Finally, their external biosecurity scores were evaluated. The genetic network in Argentina presented a scale-free and small-world topology. Thus, we estimate that disease spread would be fast, preferably to highly connected nodes and with little chances of being contained. Throughout the study, 31 farms were identified as super-spreaders in the genetic network for all years, while other 55 were super-spreaders at least once, from an average of 1,613 farms per year. Interestingly, removal of less than 5% of higher degree and betweenness farms resulted in a >90% reduction of R0 indicating that few farms have a key role in disease spread. When biosecurity scores of the most relevant super-spreaders were examined, it was evident that many were at risk of introducing and disseminating new pathogens across the whole of Argentina's pig production network. These results highlight the usefulness of establishing targeted surveillance and intervention programmes, emphasizing the need for better biosecurity scores in Argentinean swine production units, especially in super-spreader farms.

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          Author and article information

          Transbound Emerg Dis
          Transboundary and emerging diseases
          May 2020
          : 67
          : 3
          [1 ] Departament de Sanitat i Anatomia Animals, Facultat de Veterinària, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
          [2 ] Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
          [3 ] Facultad de Agronomía - IFEVA, Universidad de Buenos Aires/CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
          [4 ] National Service for Health and AgriFood Quality (SENASA), Ministerio de Producción y Trabajo, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
          [5 ] Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA, IRTA-UAB), Campus de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
          © 2019 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

          basic reproductive number,biosecurity,network analysis,pig movements


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