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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Vet. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fvets.2019.00375

Assessment on the adoption of recommended standards, novel approaches and best practices for animal health surveillance by decision makers in Europe

  • 1Royal Veterinary College (RVC), United Kingdom
  • 2Safoso (Switzerland), Switzerland
  • 3Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Norway
  • 4Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), France
  • 5National Veterinary Institute, Sweden
  • 6Royal GD, Netherlands
  • 7Utrecht University, Netherlands
  • 8Danish Agriculture and Food Council, Denmark
  • 9Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Animal health surveillance is an important tool for disease mitigation and helps to promote animal health and welfare, protect human health, support efficient animal production and enable trade. This study aimed to assess adoption of recommended standards and best practice for surveillance (including risk-based approaches) in Europe. It included scoping interviews with surveillance experts in Denmark, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland to gather information on knowledge acquisition, decisions and implementation of surveillance and perceptions. This was followed by an online survey among animal health and food safety surveillance users in EU, EEA and Schengen countries. A total of 166 responses were collected from 27 countries. A strong preference for legislation and established standards was observed, with peer-reviewed publications, conferences, symposia and workshops to be major sources of information. The majority of respondents indicated a need for international evaluation for surveillance and implied that considerations of cost-effectiveness were essential when making a decision to adopt new surveillance standards. However, most of the respondents did not use a formal evaluation to inform the adoption of new standards or only conducted a descriptive assessment before their implementation or adaptation. Only a few respondents reported a quantitative economic evaluation despite economic efficiency being considered as a highly relevant criterion for surveillance implementation. Constraints mentioned in the adoption of new surveillance standards included insufficient time, financial and human resources, and lack of competency. Researchers aiming to achieve impact by their surveillance work are advised to consider ways of influencing binding standards and to disseminate their work pro-actively using varied channels of engagement tailored to relevant target audiences and their needs. Generally, a more formal linkage between surveillance information and disease mitigation decisions – for example, by using systematic evaluation – could help increase the economic value of surveillance efforts. Finally, a collaborative, international platform for exchange and learning on surveillance as well as co-design and dissemination of surveillance standards is recommended.

Keywords: Animal Health, surveillance, Standards, Evaluation, Disease control

Received: 09 Jul 2019; Accepted: 11 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Häsler, Garza, Bisdorff, Léger, Tavornpanich, Peyre, Lindberg, van Schaik, Alban and Stärk. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Barbara Häsler, Royal Veterinary College (RVC), London, United Kingdom, bhaesler@rvc.ac.uk