Comparison of the Historic Recycling Risk for BSE in Three European Countries by Calculating the Basic Reproduction Ratio R0
A deterministic model of BSE transmission is used to calculate the R0 values for specific years of the BSE epidemics in the United Kingdom (UK), the Netherlands (NL), and Switzerland (CH). In all three countries, the R0 values decreased below 1 after the introduction of a ban on feeding meat and bone meal (MBM) to ruminants around the 1990s. A variety of additional measures against BSE led to further decrease of R0 to about 0.06 in the years around 1998. The calculated R0 values were consistent with the observations made on the surveillance results for UK, but were partially conflicting with the surveillance results for NL and CH. There was evidence for a dependency of the BSE epidemic in NL and CH from an infection source not considered in the deterministic transmission model. Imports of MBM and feed components can be an explanation for this discrepancy, and the importance of imports for these observations is discussed.