The quantitative role of sheep in the transmission of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is not well known. To estimate the role of sheep in the transmission of FMDV, a direct contact transmission experiment with 10 groups of animals each consisting of 2 infected lambs and 1 contact calf was performed. Secretions and excretions (oral swabs, blood, urine, faeces and probang samples) from all animals were tested for the presence of FMDV by virus isolation (VI) and/or RT-PCR. Serum was tested for the presence of antibodies against FMDV. To estimate FMDV transmission, the VI, RT-PCR and serology results were used. The partial reproduction ratio R0p i.e. the average number of new infections caused by one infected sheep introduced into a population of susceptible cattle, was estimated using either data of the whole infection chain of the experimental epidemics (the transient state method) or the final sizes of the experimental epidemics (the final size method). Using the transient state method, R0p was estimated as 1.0 (95% CI 0.2 - 6.0) using virus isolation results and 1.4 (95% CI 0.3 - 8.0) using RT-PCR results. Using the final size method, R0p was estimated as 0.9 (95% CI 0.2 - 3.0). Finally, R0p was compared to the R0's obtained in previous transmission studies with sheep or cattle only. This comparison showed that the infectivity of sheep is lower than that of cattle and that sheep and cattle are similarly susceptible to FMD. These results indicate that in a mixed population of sheep and cattle, sheep play a more limited role in the transmission of FMDV than cattle. © 2014 Bravo de Rueda et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Bravo De Rueda, C., De Jong, M. C. M., Eblé, P. L., & Dekker, A. (2014). Estimation of the transmission of foot-and-mouth disease virus from infected sheep to cattle. Veterinary Research, 45(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1297-9716-45-58