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Mathematical models that describe the key processes determining the pattern of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) epidemic in British cattle are derived that allow for infection from feed as well as maternal and direct horizontal transmission. Heterogeneous susceptibility classes are also incorporated into the analysis. Maximum likelihood methods are used to estimate parameters and to obtain confidence intervals from available experimental and epidemiological data. A comprehensive sensitivity analysis of all model parameters and distributional assumptions is presented. Additional validation is provided by fitting the model to independent data collected in Northern Ireland. Model estimates and predictions based on BSE case data for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, together with their implications, are reviewed, and future research priorities discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences


The Royal Society

Publication Date





803 - 838