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Assessing the Adoption of Recommended Standards, Novel Approaches, and Best Practices for Animal Health Surveillance by Decision Makers in Europe

By Barbara Häsler, Maria Garza, Betty Bisdorff, Anaïs Léger, Saraya Tavornpanich, Marisa Peyre, Ann Lindberg, Gerdien van Schaik, Lis Alban, Katharina D. C. Stärk

Category Journal Articles

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, the 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; 111 were eligible
for analysis. 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 whenmaking 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.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2019
Publication Title Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume 6
Pages 12
DOI 10.3389/fvets.2019.00375
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Diseases
  4. Evaluation
  5. open access
  6. standards
  7. surveillance
  1. open access