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Modelling the economic efficiency of using different strategies to control Porcine Reproductive & Respiratory Syndrome at herd level

Nathues, H; Alarcon, P; Rushton, J; Jolie, R; Fiebig, K; Jimenez, M; Geurts, V; Nathues, C


H Nathues

P Alarcon

J Rushton

R Jolie

K Fiebig

M Jimenez

V Geurts

C Nathues


PRRS is among the diseases with the highest economic impact in pig production worldwide. Different strategies have been developed and applied to combat PRRS at farm level. The broad variety of available intervention strategies makes it difficult to decide on the most cost-efficient strategy for a given farm situation, as it depends on many farm-individual factors like disease severity, prices or farm structure. Aim of this study was to create a simulation tool to estimate the cost-efficiency of different control strategies at individual farm level. Baseline is a model that estimates the costs of PRRS, based on changes in health and productivity, in a specific farm setting (e.g. farm type, herd size, type of batch farrowing).

The model evaluates different intervention scenarios: depopulation/repopulation (D/R), close & roll-over (C&R), mass vaccination of sows (MS), mass vaccination of sows and vaccination of piglets (MS + piglets), improvements in internal biosecurity (BSM), and combinations of vaccinations with BSM. Data on improvement in health and productivity parameters for each intervention were obtained through literature review and from expert opinions. The economic efficiency of the different strategies was assessed over 5 years through investment appraisals: the resulting expected value (EV) indicated the most cost-effective strategy. Calculations were performed for 5 example scenarios with varying farm type (farrow-to-finish – breeding herd), disease severity (slightly – moderately – severely affected) and PRRSV detection (yes – no). The assumed herd size was 1000 sows with farm and price structure as commonly found in Germany. In a moderately affected (moderate deviations in health and productivity parameters from what could be expected in an average negative herd), unstable farrow-to-finish herd, the most cost-efficient strategies according to their median EV were C&R (€1′126′807) and MS + piglets (€ 1′114′649). In a slightly affected farrow-to-finish herd, no virus detected, the highest median EV was for MS + piglets (€ 721′745) and MS (€ 664′111). Results indicate that the expected benefits of interventions and the most efficient strategy depend on the individual farm situation, e.g. disease severity. The model provides new insights regarding the cost-efficiency of various PRRSV intervention strategies at farm level. It is a valuable tool for farmers and veterinarians to estimate expected economic consequences of an intervention for a specific farm setting and thus enables a better informed decision.


Nathues, H., Alarcon, P., Rushton, J., Jolie, R., Fiebig, K., Jimenez, M., …Nathues, C. (2018). Modelling the economic efficiency of using different strategies to control Porcine Reproductive & Respiratory Syndrome at herd level. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 152, 89-102.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 6, 2018
Publication Date Feb 9, 2018
Deposit Date Mar 24, 2018
Publicly Available Date Mar 24, 2018
Print ISSN 0167-5877
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 152
Pages 89-102
Public URL


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