Simulating the transmission of foot-and-mouth disease among mobile herds in the far North Region, Cameroon

Hyeyoung Kim*, Ningchuan Xiao, Mark Moritz, Rebecca Garabed, Laura W. Pomeroy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Animal and human movements can impact the transmission of infectious diseases. Modeling such impacts presents a significant challenge to disease transmission models because these models often assume a fully mixing population where individuals have an equal chance to contact each other. Whereas movements result in populations that can be best represented as a dynamic networks whose structure changes over time as individual movements result in changing distances between individuals within a population. We model the impact of the movements of mobile pastoralists on foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) transmission in a transhumance system in the Far North Region of Cameroon. The pastoralists in our study area move their livestock between rainy and dry season pastures. We first analyzed transhumance data to derive mobility rules that can be used to simulate the movements of the agents in our model. We developed an agent-based model coupled with a susceptible–infected–recovered (SIR) model. Each agent represents a camp of mobile pastoralists with multiple herds and households. The simulation results demonstrated that the herd mobility significantly influenced the dynamics of FMD. When the grazing area is not explicitly considered (by setting the buffer size to 100 km), all the model simulations suggested the same curves as the results using a fully mixing population. Simulations that used grazing areas observed in the field (≤5 km radius) resulted in multiple epidemic peaks in a year, which is similar to the empirical evidence that we obtained by surveying herders from our study area over the last four years.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, University of Surrey. All rights reserved.


  • Agent-based-model (ABM)
  • Disease transmission
  • Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)
  • Mobility
  • SIR model
  • Transhumance


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