Spatial analysis of bluetongue cases and vaccination of Swiss cattle in 2008 and 2009

  • Katriina J. E. Willgert Royal Veterinary College, Royal College Street, London, United Kingdom.
  • Birgit Schroedle Biostatistics Division, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
  • Heinzpeter Schwermer | Monitoring Unit, Federal Veterinary Office, Bern, Switzerland.


Bluetongue (BT) is a vector-borne viral disease of ruminants. The infection is widespread globally with major implications for international animal trade and production. In 2006, BT virus serotype 8 (BTV-8) was encountered in Europe for the first time, causing extensive production losses and death in susceptible livestock. Following the appearance of BTV- 8 in Switzerland in 2007, a compulsory vaccination programme was launched in the subsequent year. Due to social factors and difficulties to reach animals on high pasture, the regional vaccination coverage varied across the country in both 2008 and 2009. In this study, the effect of vaccination on the spatial occurrence of BTV-8 and the associated relative disease risk in Switzerland in 2008 and 2009 were investigated by a spatial Bayesian hierarchical approach. Bayesian posterior distributions were obtained by integrated nested Laplace approximations, a promising alternative to commonly used Markov chain Monte Carlo methods. The number of observed BTV-8 outbreaks in Switzerland decreased notably from 2008 to 2009. However, only a non-significant association between vaccination coverage and the probability of a spatial unit being infected with BTV-8 was identified using the model developed for this study. The relative disease risk varied significantly across the country, with a higher relative risk of BTV-8 infection in western and north-western Switzerland where environmental conditions are more suitable for vector presence and viral transmission. Examination of the spatial correlation between disease occurrence, control measures and associated ecological factors can be valuable in the evaluation and development of disease control programmes, allowing prioritisation of areas with a high relative risk of disease.



PlumX Metrics


Download data is not yet available.
Original Articles
Bayesian hierarchical model, bluetongue, disease mapping, integrated nested Laplace approximation, vaccination, , Switzerland.
  • Abstract views: 778

  • PDF: 535
How to Cite
Willgert, K. J. E., Schroedle, B., & Schwermer, H. (2011). Spatial analysis of bluetongue cases and vaccination of Swiss cattle in 2008 and 2009. Geospatial Health, 5(2), 227-237.