Spreading dynamics in a cattle trade network: Size, speed, typical profile and consequences on epidemic control strategies

By Aurore Payen, Lionel Tabourier and Matthieu Latapy

PLOS ONE, 2019

Abstract

Infections can spread among livestock notably because infected animals can be brought to uncontaminated holdings, therefore exposing a new group of susceptible animals to the dis- ease. As a consequence, the structure and dynamics of animal trade networks is a major focus of interest to control zoonosis. We investigate the impact of the chronology of animal trades on the dynamics of the process. Precisely, in the context of a basic SI model spread- ing, we measure on the French database of bovine transfers to what extent a snapshot- based analysis of the cattle trade networks overestimates the epidemic risks. We bring into light that an analysis taking into account the chronology of interactions would give a much more accurate assessment of both the size and speed of the process. For this purpose, we model data as a temporal network that we analyze using the link stream formalism in order to mix structural and temporal aspects. We also show that in this dataset, a basic SI spread- ing comes down in most cases to a simple two-phases scenario: a waiting period, with few contacts and low activity, followed by a linear growth of the number of infected holdings. Using this portrait of the spreading process, we identify efficient strategies to control a potential outbreak, based on the identification of specific elements of the link stream which have a higher probability to be involved in a spreading process.

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