CVERA Research Collection

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The Centre for Veterinary Epidemiology and Risk Analysis (CVERA) is the national resource centre for veterinary epidemiology in Ireland, located within the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine at University College Dublin.

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 150
  • Publication
    Evaluation of existing guidelines for their adequacy for the food and feed risk assessment of microorganisms obtained through synthetic biology
    EFSA was asked by the European Commission to evaluate synthetic biology (SynBio) developments for agri-food use in the near future and to determine whether or not they are expected to constitute potential new hazards/risks. Moreover, EFSA was requested to evaluate the adequacy of existing guidelines for risk assessment of SynBio and if updated guidance is needed. The scope of this Opinion covers food and feed risk assessment, the variety of microorganisms that can be used in the food/feed chain and the whole spectrum of techniques used in SynBio. This Opinion complements a previously adopted Opinion with the evaluation of existing guidelines for the microbial characterisation and environmental risk assessment of microorganisms obtained through SynBio. The present Opinion confirms that microbial SynBio applications for food and feed use, with the exception of xenobionts, could be ready in the European Union in the next decade. New hazards were identified related to the use or production of unusual and/or new-to-nature components. Fifteen cases were selected for evaluating the adequacy of existing guidelines. These were generally adequate for assessing the product, the production process, nutritional and toxicological safety, allergenicity, exposure and post-market monitoring. The comparative approach and a safety assessment per se could be applied depending on the degree of familiarity of the SynBio organism/product with the non-genetically modified counterparts. Updated guidance is recommended for: (i) bacteriophages, protists/microalgae, (ii) exposure to plant protection products and biostimulants, (iii) xenobionts and (iv) feed additives for insects as target species. Development of risk assessment tools is recommended for assessing nutritional value of biomasses, influence of microorganisms on the gut microbiome and the gut function, allergenic potential of new-to-nature proteins, impact of horizontal gene transfer and potential risks of living cell intake. A further development towards a strain-driven risk assessment approach is recommended.
      263Scopus© Citations 1
  • Publication
    Understanding the dog population in the Republic of Ireland: insight from existing data sources?
    Background: Reliable information about national pet dog populations is an important contributor to informed decision-making, both by governments and national dog welfare organisations. In some countries, there is an improved understanding of aspects of the national pet dog population, but as yet limited published information is available in Ireland. The current study reviews the utility of existing data to inform our understanding of recent changes to the pet dog population in Ireland, including both biological and organisational processes. Results: Based on national data on dog licencing and microchipping registration, pet dog numbers have remained relatively stable in recent years (ie prior to the COVID-19 pandemic). Since 2015, there has been a substantial decrease in the number of dogs managed through dog control centres. Although the completeness of the data are likely variable, there appears to be substantial, and increasing, number of dogs moving from Ireland to other countries, including UK, Sweden, Italy, Germany and Singapore. We also note an increase (albeit much smaller) in the number of dogs being moved into Ireland. Conclusions: This study highlights the challenges faced when using existing national data to gain insights into the dog population of Ireland. The linking of existing national databases (individual dog identification, dog licencing, dog control statistics) has the potential to improve both the representativeness and accuracy of information about the Irish pet dog population. In the next phases of our work, we will focus on the work of dog welfare organisations, given both the increased role played by these organisations and the substantial public funding that has been committed in this sector.
      159Scopus© Citations 1
  • Publication
    Modelling transmission of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis between Irish dairy cattle herds
    Bovine paratuberculosis is an endemic disease caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (Map). Map is mainly transmitted between herds through movement of infected but undetected animals. Our objective was to investigate the effect of observed herd characteristics on Map spread on a national scale in Ireland. Herd characteristics included herd size, number of breeding bulls introduced, number of animals purchased and sold, and number of herds the focal herd purchases from and sells to. We used these characteristics to classify herds in accordance with their probability of becoming infected and of spreading infection to other herds. A stochastic individual-based model was used to represent herd demography and Map infection dynamics of each dairy cattle herd in Ireland. Data on herd size and composition, as well as birth, death, and culling events were used to characterize herd demography. Herds were connected with each other through observed animal trade movements. Data consisted of 13 353 herds, with 4 494 768 dairy female animals, and 72 991 breeding bulls. We showed that the probability of an infected animal being introduced into the herd increases both with an increasing number of animals that enter a herd via trade and number of herds from which animals are sourced. Herds that both buy and sell a lot of animals pose the highest infection risk to other herds and could therefore play an important role in Map spread between herds.
      212
  • Publication
    Development of a syndromic surveillance system for Irish dairy cattle using milk recording data
    In the last decade and a half, emerging vector-borne diseases have become a substantial threat to cattle across Europe. To mitigate the impact of the emergence of new diseases, outbreaks must be detected early. However, the clinical signs associated with many diseases may be nonspecific. Furthermore, there is often a delay in the development of new diagnostic tests for novel pathogens which limits the ability to detect emerging disease in the initial stages. Syndromic Surveillance has been proposed as an additional surveillance method that could augment traditional methods by detecting aberrations in non-specific disease indicators. The aim of this study was to develop a syndromic surveillance system for Irish dairy herds based on routinely collected milk recording and meteorological data. We sought to determine whether the system would have detected the 2012 Schmallenberg virus (SBV) incursion into Ireland earlier than conventional surveillance methods. Using 7,743,138 milk recordings from 730,724 cows in 7037 herds between 2007 and 2012, linear mixed-effects models were developed to predict milk yield and alarms generated with temporally clustered deviations from predicted values. Additionally, hotspot spatial analyses were conducted at corresponding time points. Using a range of thresholds, our model generated alarms throughout September 2012, between 4 and 6 weeks prior to the first laboratory confirmation of SBV in Ireland. This system for monitoring milk yield represents both a potentially useful tool for early detection of disease, and a valuable foundation for developing similar tools using other metrics.
      144
  • Publication
    Comparison of the confidence in freedom from infection based on different control programmes between EU member states: STOC free
    The STOC free project constructed a generic framework that allows a standardised and harmonised description of different control programmes (CP) for cattle diseases. The STOC free model can be used to determine the confidence of freedom from infection that has been achieved in disease CPs, in support of an ongoing assessment of progress towards output-based standards as outlined in the EU Animal Health Law. With this information, and as required, further CP actions can be taken to mitigate the risks of persistence and (re-)introduction on the probability of freedom from infection. Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) was chosen as the case disease because of the diversity in CPs in the six participating countries. A Bayesian hidden Markov model was considered the best modelling method. Detailed BVDV CP information was collected in the participating countries and the key aspects for inclusion in the STOC free model were identified. A first version of STOC free model was developed and tested on simulated data. The risk factors for BVDV infection that needed to be included in the model were defined and default values for these risk factors were quantified. A data collection tool was finalised with which the data for the STOC free model was collected. Subsequently, the developed model was tested and validated using real BVDV CP data from partner countries. Based on the feedback, the model was finalised and the report and corresponding computer code were made publicly available. There were roughly three different BVDV situations that occurred in the partner countries: 1. Endemic situation with a CP operating at herd level, 2. Endemic situation with a CP operating at animal level and 3. BVD free situation. The STOC free model is able to include herd level data only and animal level data has to be aggregated to herd level before the model can be applied. The STOC free model is not applicable for a country that is completely BVDV free given that it needs some infections to estimate its parameters and converge. In the latter situation, a scenario tree model could be a better suited tool, and this was evaluated in the Swedish case study. Further work is needed for generalisation of the method to other diseases and expansion of the method to include socioeconomic aspects of CPs.
      153