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What are the human resources required to control a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Austria?

Contingency planning allows veterinary authorities to prepare a rapid response in the event of a disease outbreak. A recently published foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) simulation study indicated concerns whether capacity was sufficient to control a potential FMD epidemic in Austria. The objectives of the study presented here were to estimate the human resources required to implement FMD control measures and to identify areas of the operational activities that could potentially delay successful control of the disease.

The stochastic spatial simulation model EuFMDiS (The European Foot-and-Mouth Disease Spread Model) was used to simulate a potential FMD outbreak and its economic impact, including different control scenarios based on variations of culling, vaccination, and pre-emptive depopulation. In this context, the utilization of human resources was assessed based on the associated EuFMDiS output regarding the performance of operational activities.

The assessments show that the number of personnel needed in an outbreak with a stamping-out policy would reach the peak at the end of the second week of control with a median of 540 (257–926) individuals, out of which 31% would be veterinarians. Approximately 58% of these human resources would be attributable to surveillance, followed by staff for cleaning and disinfection activities. Our analysis demonstrates that, of the operational activities, surveillance personnel were the largest factor influencing the magnitude of the outbreak. The aim of the assessment presented here is to assist veterinary authorities in the contingency planning of required human resources to respond effectively to an outbreak of animal diseases such as FMD.


T. Marschik, J. Kopacka, S. Stockreiter, F. Schmoll, J. Hiesel, A. Höflechner-Pöltl, A. Käsbohrer, B. Conrady, What are the human resources required to control a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Austria?, Frontiers in Veterinary Science 8 (2021).

Beate Conrady (Pinior)

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