Many countries do not have the resources to develop epidemiological models of animal diseases. As a result, it is tempting to use models developed in other countries. However, an existing model may need to be adapted in order for it to be appropriately applied in a country, region, or situation other than that for which it was originally developed. The process of adapting a model has a number of benefits for both model builders and model users. For model builders, it provides insight into the applicability of their model and potentially the opportunity to obtain data for operational validation of components of their model. For users, it is a chance to think about the infection transmission process in detail, to review the data available for modelling, and to learn the principles of epidemiological modelling. Various issues must be addressed when considering adapting a model. Most critically, the assumptions and purpose behind the model must be thoroughly understood, so that new users can determine its suitability for their situation. The process of adapting a model might simply involve changing existing model parameter values (for example, to better represent livestock demographics in a country or region), or might require more substantial (and more labour-intensive) changes to the model code and conceptual model. Adapting a model is easier if the model has a user-friendly interface and easy-to- read user documentation. In addition, models built as frameworks within which disease processes and livestock demographics and contacts are flexible are good candidates for technology transfer projects, which lead to long-term collaborations.
Epidemiological modelling – Model adaptation – Technology transfer.