Frontline farm workers and veterinary-policy-makers are arguably in the best positions to influence prevention, detection, and preparedness-for-control of farm animal diseases. It is important that such individuals make biologically sound decisions concerning the daily management and regulation of the health of animals. Such decisions should be based on a good understanding of key principles of disease spread and control. This paper summarises these principles, as described in previous publications, into simple models. These models may be used to communicate concepts to readers who may not have time to study more complex models. These models illustrate the relationship between the development of new disease cases (from existing cases, i.e. the reproductive ratio R) and (i) the duration of the period during which existing cases are available as infectious, (ii) contact rates, (iii) transmission rates and (iv) susceptibility. Understanding these concepts through models has great utility, facilitating better decisions for disease prevention, detection and preparedness-for-control, before an outbreak becomes unmanageable. These basic concepts apply to all animal species, including humans.
Communications – Control – Detection – Disease prevention – Disease spread and control model – Preparedness – Reproductive ratio – Stakeholder understanding.