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Joint Spatio-Temporal Modeling of Mycobacterium bovis Infections in Badgers and Cattle – Results from the Irish Four Area Project

Gabrielle E. Kelly

Abstract

In Ireland and in the UK, bovine tuberculosis (bTB) infects cattle and wildlife badgers (Meles meles linnaeus) and badgers contribute to the spread of the disease in cattle. Isotropic and anisotropic spatio-temporal models are fitted to cattle herd and badger sett bTB incidence data from the Four Area Project using sequences of linear geostatistical models. An association was found between the spatial distribution of the disease in cattle and badgers in two of three areas. The limited association may be due to irregularity of sett territories, fragmentation of farms, TB-test insensitivity, temporal lags associated with transmission or non-spatial transmission. A statistical methodology is outlined whereby hypotheses related to spatial correlation structure may be tested.

Acknowledgement

I thank the referees for helpful comments that greatly improved this manuscript. I would like to thank Professor Sir David Cox for helpful conversations. I thank the Center for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis (CVERA), University College Dublin, who provided the data and maps of the FAP for this study. Finally, I would like to thank the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for financial support in relation to some previous work quoted here.

Conflict of interest statement

There is no conflict of interest in relation to this work.

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Published Online: 2013-06-05

©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin / Boston