In the new animal health law that entered into force in 2021, infectious cattle diseases are categorized based on their impact from A (highest impact) to E. For diseases categorized under A or B, regulations on control and eradication are prescribed. For diseases categorized under C, D or E, rules are not so strict. Examples of these diseases include BVDV, BoHV1 and Paratuberculosis.
For these diseases many European countries/regions have their own specific disease control programme in place. Nevertheless, these differently designed programmes result in differences of prevalence of disease and therefore in a risk of (re)infection when cattle are traded between countries or regions with a different disease status. To be able to reduce the risk of such trade there is a need for the possibility to compare the status of traded cattle (the probability of being free) originating from different control programmes. This is called output based comparison or in other words, comparison of the results of different programmes. Until now, the methods that can be applied for output based surveillance are very limited.
Between 2018 and 2022, the COST Action SOUND control was in place in which more than 100 researchers from 33 countries collaborated to stimulate uptake of output based methods to substantiate the confidence of freedom for cattle diseases categorized under C, D or E in the EU.
A thorough overview was created in which all cattle diseases that are controlled in at least one European country were described. The results were both published in a paper (Hodnik et al., 2021) and in a freely accessible digital dashboard. More detailed information about control of cattle diseases in the individual countries were published in a handbook filled with peer-reviewed scientific publications. A joint effort of the SOUND-control members led to development of a digital and open-access data collection matrix, which was used to collect quantitative data in support of output based surveillance. Existing methods for output-based surveillance were evaluated and disseminated through webinars and workshops. Additionally, gaps in output based surveillance from the perspective of Action members, decision makers, industry stakeholders and farmers throughout Europe were collected and collated. All identified gaps with their implications and possible solutions served as basis for the research agenda for further development and implementation of output based surveillance which was published at the end of the Action.
SOUND control project