Key Learnings During the Development of a Generic Data Collection Tool to Support Assessment of Freedom of Infection in Cattle Herds
Van Roon AM, Rapaliute E, Koleci X, Muñoz V, Mercat M, Faverjon C, Santman-Berends IM, Nielen M, More SJ, Graham D, Guelbenzu-Gonzalo M.
Various European Member States have implemented control or eradication programmes for endemic infectious diseases in cattle. The design of these programmes varies between countries and therefore comparison of the outputs of different control programmes is complex. Although output-based methods to estimate the confidence of freedom resulting from these programmes are under development, as yet there is no practical modeling framework applicable to a variety of infectious diseases. Therefore, a data collection tool was developed to evaluate data availability and quality and to collect actual input data required for such a modeling framework. The aim of the current paper is to present the key learnings from the process of the development of this data collection tool. The data collection tool was developed by experts from two international projects: STOC free (Surveillance Tool for Outcome-based Comparison of FREEdom from infection, www.stocfree.eu) and SOUND control (Standardizing OUtput-based surveillance to control Non-regulated Diseases of cattle in the EU, www.sound-control.eu). Initially a data collection tool was developed for assessment of freedom of bovine viral diarrhea virus in six Western European countries. This tool was then further generalized to enable inclusion of data for other cattle diseases i.e., infectious bovine rhinotracheitis and Johne's disease. Subsequently, the tool was pilot-tested by a Western and Eastern European country, discussed with animal health experts from 32 different European countries and further developed for use throughout Europe. The developed online data collection tool includes a wide range of variables that could reasonably influence confidence of freedom, including those relating to cattle demographics, risk factors for introduction and characteristics of disease control programmes. Our results highlight the fact that data requirements for different cattle diseases can be generalized and easily included in a data collection tool. However, there are large differences in data availability and comparability across European countries, presenting challenges to the development of a standardized data collection tool and modeling framework. These key learnings are important for development of any generic data collection tool for animal disease control purposes. Further, the results can facilitate development of output-based modeling frameworks that aim to calculate confidence of freedom from disease.