Case studies and generalisation

In WP3, the objective is to validate and optimise STOC-FREE DATA and STOC-FREE MODEL that are developed in WP1 and WP2 in case studies that are conducted by all partners.

Case example: BVD

Several European countries have implemented national or regional surveillance, control, or eradication programmes for endemic infections of cattle which are currently not regulated at EU level. Programmes aiming to control and eradicate these infections may bring tangible benefits to farmers, processors, the wider public and national economies. Nevertheless, such programmes also create difficulties for trade, particularly of live animals, between member states where differences exist in either the presence or absence of such programmes. Additionally,  the statuses attained by the programmes (control/eradication ongoing or freedom achieved) create difficulties for trade due to the risks of impairing progress with control/eradication or re-introducing infection where freedom has been achieved.

Bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) caused by BVD virus, is a good example of such a disease and has therefore been chosen as an example disease for the development of the STOC free framework in this project.

BVDV is recognised to be an economically important pathogen of cattle and to be endemic in countries without systematic control and eradication efforts. The infection is primarily maintained and spread by persistently infected (PI) calves, which are generated as a result of in utero infection following exposure of their dams. These PI animals shed high levels of virus throughout their lifetime, and their movement between herds is recognised to be the principal means by which infection can be transferred. Trade of PI animals between member states also poses particular risks to ongoing, or completed eradication programmes.

A number of member states have initiated or completed national or regional eradication programmes for BVDV. While these have a common goal, they follow a variety of pathways to achieve this. For example, some focus primarily on testing and assigning the subsequent BVDV free status at herd level, while individual animals are the unit of interest in others. Some BVDV programmes have already achieved freedom, other programmes are still underway but have made good progress, and a third group of BVDV programmes are in their early stages. There are control programmes that are implemented on a voluntary basis and others that are compulsory and supported by legislation. The risks associated with movement of cattle between areas with different programmes and statuses is therefore an ongoing concern for both farmers and programme managers and for this reason BVD has been chosen as the model disease for this project.

The countries in our consortium reflect the variation in both BVDV programme design and prevalence, with a variety of programmes in place and disease statuses ranging from endemic to free, which have generated considerable amounts of data that are available to develop a framework to determine the confidence of freedom of infection at different levels of aggregation for BVD.

When completed, this framework will also be applicable to other infectious cattle diseases.


WP3: Highlights of year 1

The work foreseen in WP3 will be conducted from 2019 on. During the annual meeting in year 2, the case studies that will be carried out by each of the partner countries will be discussed.

WP3: Highlights of year 2

The case studies are foreseen for the third year. The developed method eventually has to be generic enough to be able to transfer to other diseases as well. The model should include generic epidemiological features which are common for multiple diseases. Aspects to take into account for generalizability that might differ between diseases include the preferred time steps, the definitions of freedom and infection, the usability of serology to determine the infectious state, and the relevant target population that should be included in the model. The work that is conducted within the COST Action SOUND control, which is closely linked to STOC free, will provide additional input on how to generalise STOC free model to other species and other diseases. Additionally, within SOUND control aspects such as economics and sociology will also be taken into consideration.

Deliverables second year: None scheduled