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Title: Simulating human behavioral changes in livestock production systems during an epidemic: The case of the US beef cattle industry
Human behavioral change around biosecurity in response to increased awareness of disease risks is a critical factor in modeling animal disease dynamics. Here, biosecurity is referred to as implementing control measures to decrease the chance of animal disease spreading. However, social dynamics are largely ignored in traditional livestock disease models. Not accounting for these dynamics may lead to substantial bias in the predicted epidemic trajectory. In this research, an agent-based model is developed by integrating the human decision-making process into epidemiological processes. We simulate human behavioral change on biosecurity practices following an increase in the regional disease incidence. We apply the model to beef cattle production systems in southwest Kansas, United States, to examine the impact of human behavior factors on a hypothetical foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. The simulation results indicate that heterogeneity of individuals regarding risk attitudes significantly affects the epidemic dynamics, and human-behavior factors need to be considered for improved epidemic forecasting. With the same initial biosecurity status, increasing the percentage of risk-averse producers in the total population using a targeted strategy can more effectively reduce the number of infected producer locations and cattle losses compared to a random strategy. In addition, the reduction in epidemic size caused by more » the shifting of producers’ risk attitudes towards risk-aversion is heavily dependent on the initial biosecurity level. A comprehensive investigation of the initial biosecurity status is recommended to inform risk communication strategy design. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Editors:
Woźniakowski, Grzegorz
Award ID(s):
1744812
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10254015
Journal Name:
PLOS ONE
Volume:
16
Issue:
6
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
e0253498
ISSN:
1932-6203
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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