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Front. Vet. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00173

The distribution of bovine tuberculosis in cattle farms is linked to cattle trade and badger-mediated contact networks in south-western France, 2007-2015

  • 1Université Paris-Sud, France
  • 2EPI, Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l’Alimentation, de l’Environnement et du Travail (ANSES), France
  • 3Université Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne, France

Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), mainly caused by Mycobacterium bovis, can affect domestic and wild animals as well as humans. Identifying the major transmission mechanisms in an area is necessary for disease control and management. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the involvement of different types of contact in M. bovis transmission between cattle farms of south-western France between 2007 and 2015. We analyzed an empirical contact network of cattle farms as nodes, with known infection status and molecular types (16 circulated during the study period of which 14 affected only cattle and two both badgers and cattle). Edges were based on cattle trade data (T-edges) and on spatial neighborhood relationships between farms, either direct (P-edges) or badger-mediated, when two farms neighbored the same badger home range (B-edges), or two distinct but neighboring badger home ranges (D-edges). Edge types were aggregated so that the contact network contained only unique edges labeled by one or several edge types. The association between the contact network structure and bTB infection status was assessed using a non-parametric test, each molecular type being considered a marker of an independent epidemic. Using a logistic regression model, we estimated the contribution of each edge type to the probability for an edge originating from an infected farm to end at another infected farm. A total number of 1946 cattle farms were included in the study and were linked by 54243 edges. Within this contact network, infected farms (whatever the molecular type) always belonged to the same component, suggesting the contact network may have supported bTB spread among those farms. A significant association between the pattern of bTB-infected farms and the structure of the contact network was observed when all the molecular types were simultaneously considered. The logistic regression model showed a significant association between M. bovis infection in direct neighbors of infected farms and the connection by T-, B- and D-edges, with odds-ratios of 7.4, 1.9 and 10.4, respectively. These results indicate a multifactorial M. bovis transmission between farms of the studied area, with varying implication levels of the trade, pasture and badger networks according to the molecular type.

Keywords: bovine tuberculosis, Network analysis, Cattle farms, badger-cattle interface, Cattle trade, Pastures

Received: 05 May 2018; Accepted: 04 Jul 2018.

Edited by:

Andrew W. Byrne, Agri Food and Biosciences Institute, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Joseph Crispell, University College Dublin, Ireland
Helen R. Fielding, University of Exeter, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2018 Bouchez-Zacria, Courcoul and Durand. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: DVM, PhD. Benoit Durand, Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire de l’Alimentation, de l’Environnement et du Travail (ANSES), EPI, Maisons-Alfort, France,