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  • 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.
  • Publication
    Quantification of risk factors for bovine viral diarrhea virus in cattle herds: A systematic search and meta-analysis of observational studies
    Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is endemic in many parts of the world, and multiple countries have implemented surveillance activities for disease control or eradication. In such control programs, the disease-free status can be compromised by factors that pose risks for introduction or persistence of the virus. The aim of the present study was to gain a comprehensive overview of possible risk factors for BVDV infection in cattle herds in Europe and to assess their importance. Papers that considered risk factors for BVDV infection in cattle were identified through a systematic search. Further selection of papers eligible for quantitative analysis was performed using a predefined checklist, including (1) appropriate region (i.e., studies performed in Europe), (2) representativeness of the study population, (3) quality of statistical analysis, and (4) availability of sufficient quantitative data. In total, 18 observational studies were selected. Data were analyzed by a random-effects meta-analysis to obtain pooled estimates of the odds of BVDV infection. Meta-analyses were performed on 6 risk factors: herd type, herd size, participation in shows or markets, introduction of cattle, grazing, and contact with other cattle herds on pasture. Significant higher odds were found for dairy herds (odds ratio, OR = 1.63, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.06–2.50) compared with beef herds, for larger herds (OR = 1.04 for every 10 extra animals in the herd, 95% CI: 1.02–1.06), for herds that participate in shows or markets (OR = 1.45, 95% CI: 1.10–1.91), for herds that introduced cattle into the herd (OR = 1.41, 95% CI: 1.18–1.69), and for herds that share pasture or have direct contact with cattle of other herds at pasture (OR = 1.32, 95% CI: 1.07–1.63). These pooled values must be interpreted with care, as there was a high level of heterogeneity between studies. However, they do give an indication of the importance of the most frequently studied risk factors and can therefore assist in the development, evaluation, and optimization of BVDV control programs.
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