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.

For more information, please visit the official web page.


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 5 of 171
  • Publication
    Guidance on the use of the benchmark dose approach in risk assessment
    The Scientific Committee (SC) reconfirms that the benchmark dose (BMD) approach is a scientifically more advanced method compared to the no-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) approach for deriving a Reference Point (RP). The major change compared to the previous Guidance (EFSA SC, 2017) concerns the Section 2.5, in which a change from the frequentist to the Bayesian paradigm is recommended. In the former, uncertainty about the unknown parameters is measured by confidence and significance levels, interpreted and calibrated under hypothetical repetition, while probability distributions are attached to the unknown parameters in the Bayesian approach, and the notion of probability is extended to reflect uncertainty of knowledge. In addition, the Bayesian approach can mimic a learning process and reflects the accumulation of knowledge over time. Model averaging is again recommended as the preferred method for estimating the BMD and calculating its credible interval. The set of default models to be used for BMD analysis has been reviewed and amended so that there is now a single set of models for quantal and continuous data. The flow chart guiding the reader step-by-step when performing a BMD analysis has also been updated, and a chapter comparing the frequentist to the Bayesian paradigm inserted. Also, when using Bayesian BMD modelling, the lower bound (BMDL) is to be considered as potential RP, and the upper bound (BMDU) is needed for establishing the BMDU/BMDL ratio reflecting the uncertainty in the BMD estimate. This updated guidance does not call for a general re-evaluation of previous assessments where the NOAEL approach or the BMD approach as described in the 2009 or 2017 Guidance was used, in particular when the exposure is clearly lower (e.g. more than one order of magnitude) than the health-based guidance value. Finally, the SC firmly reiterates to reconsider test guidelines given the wide application of the BMD approach.
      34Scopus© Citations 42
  • Publication
    Re-evaluation of the existing health-based guidance values for copper and exposure assessment from all sources
    Copper is an essential micronutrient and also a regulated product used in organic and in conventional farming pest management. Both deficiency and excessive exposure to copper can have adverse health effects. In this Scientific Opinion, the EFSA 2021 harmonised approach for establishing health-based guidance values (HBGVs) for substances that are regulated products and also nutrients was used to resolve the divergent existing HBGVs for copper. The tightly regulated homeostasis prevents toxicity manifestation in the short term, but the development of chronic copper toxicity is dependent on copper homeostasis and its tissue retention. Evidence from Wilson disease suggests that hepatic retention is indicative of potential future and possibly sudden onset of copper toxicity under conditions of continuous intake. Hence, emphasis was placed on copper retention as an early marker of potential adverse effects. The relationships between (a) chronic copper exposure and its retention in the body, particularly the liver, and (b) hepatic copper concentrations and evidence of toxicity were examined. The Scientific Committee (SC) concludes that no retention of copper is expected to occur with intake of 5 mg/day and established an Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) of 0.07 mg/kg bw. A refined dietary exposure assessment was performed, assessing contribution from dietary and non-dietary sources. Background copper levels are a significant source of copper. The contribution of copper from its use as plant protection product (PPP), food and feed additives or fertilisers is negligible. The use of copper in fertilisers or PPPs contributes to copper accumulation in soil. Infant formula and follow-on formula are important contributors to dietary exposure of copper in infants and toddlers. Contribution from non-oral sources is negligible. Dietary exposure to total copper does not exceed the HBGV in adolescents, adults, elderly and the very elderly. Neither hepatic copper retention nor adverse effects are expected to occur from the estimated copper exposure in children due to higher nutrient requirements related to growth.
      17Scopus© Citations 14
  • Publication
    Risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection in healthcare workers following an identified nosocomial COVID-19 exposure during waves 1-3 of the pandemic in Ireland
    (Cambridge University Press, 2022-11-13) ; ; ;
    Healthcare workers (HCWs) have increased exposure and subsequent risk of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). This case-control study was conducted to investigate the contemporaneous risks associated with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection amongst HCWs following in-work exposure to a confirmed coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) case. We assessed the influence of demographic (age, sex, nationality, high risk co-morbidities and vaccination status) and work-related factors (job role, exposure location, contact type, personal protective equipment (PPE) use) on infection risk following nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 exposure. All contact tracing records within the hospital site during waves 1-3 of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland were screened to identify exposure events, cases and controls. In total, 285 cases and 1526 controls were enrolled, as a result of 1811 in-work exposure events with 745 index cases. We demonstrate that male sex, Eastern European nationality, exposure location, PPE use and vaccination status all impact the likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 infection following nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 exposure. The findings draw attention to the need for continuing emphasis on PPE use and its persisting benefit in the era of COVID-19 vaccinations. We suggest that non-work-related factors may influence infection risk seen in certain ethnic groups and that infection risk in high-risk HCW roles (e.g. nursing) may be the result of repeated exposures rather than risks inherent to a single event.
      24Scopus© Citations 3
  • Publication
    Advancing national animal health and welfare policy
    The University College Dublin (UCD) School of Veterinary Medicine has a broad research agenda covering areas such as veterinary public health, epidemiology and national disease control, herd health management, drug delivery, pharmacology, parasitology, and One Health research. We work with national and international collaborators and, with the support of Zoetis, have a longstanding “UCD Squared” partnership with the University of California-Davis, which has established an ambitious program of research, drawing on expertise from a diverse community of veterinary and medical scientists and clinicians.
  • Publication
    A framework for assessing confidence in freedom from infection in animal disease control programmes
    In the Surveillance Tool for Outcome-based Comparison of FREEdom from infection (STOC free) project (, a data collection tool was constructed to facilitate standardised collection of input data, and a model was developed to allow a standardised and harmonised comparison of the outputs of different control programmes (CPs) for cattle diseases. The STOC free model can be used to evaluate the probability of freedom from infection for herds in CPs and to determine whether these CPs comply with the European Union's pre-defined output-based standards. Bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) was chosen as the case disease for this project because of the diversity in CPs in the six participating countries. Detailed BVDV CP and risk factor information was collected using the data collection tool. For inclusion of the data in the STOC free model, key aspects and default values were quantified. A Bayesian hidden Markov model was deemed appropriate, and a model was developed for BVDV CPs. The model was tested and validated using real BVDV CP data from partner countries, and corresponding computer code was made publicly available. The STOC free model focuses on herd-level data, although that animal-level data can be included after aggregation to herd level. The STOC free model is applicable to diseases that are endemic, given that it needs the presence of some infection to estimate parameters and enable convergence. In countries where infection-free status has been achieved, a scenario tree model could be a better suited tool. Further work is recommended to generalise the STOC free model to other diseases.