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Visschers V.H.M.,Institute for Environmental Decisions | Postma M.,Ghent University | Sjolund M.,National eterinary Institute SVA | Backhans A.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | And 9 more authors.
Veterinary Record | Year: 2016

The prudent use of antimicrobials (AMs) should be widened in pig farming to reduce the risk of AM resistance (AMR) in human and veterinary medicine. It is therefore important to understand pig farmers' motivators and the barriers to AM usage (AMU) on their farms. The authors investigated pig farmers' self-estimated levels of AMU, their perceived benefits and risks and the need for AMs in a cross-sectional survey in Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden. The authors also compared these perceptions between the four countries and related them to pig farmers' actual AMU. The results showed that farmers who used more AMs also estimated their own usage as higher. Farmers perceived many benefits but relatively few risks of AMU in pig farming. Some significant cross-country differences in farmers' perceptions were found, but they were relatively small. After controlling for country differences and farm differences, only perceived risks had a significant association with AMU. The authors therefore conclude that in order to promote prudent AMU, it seems most promising to focus on the structural differences in pig farming and veterinary medicine (e.g. legislation, role of the veterinarian) among countries. In addition, interventions which aim at reducing AMU should increase farmers' awareness of the risks of extensive AMU. © 2016 British Veterinary Association.


Visschers V.H.M.,ETH Zurich | Backhans A.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Collineau L.,SAFOSO AG | Collineau L.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 10 more authors.
Zoonoses and Public Health | Year: 2016

Antimicrobial (AM) resistance is an increasing problem in human and veterinary medicine. To manage this problem, the usage of AM should be reduced in pig farming, as well as in other areas. It is important to investigate the factors that influence both pig farmers' and veterinarians' intentions to reduce AM usage, which is a prerequisite for developing intervention measures. We conducted a mail survey among pig farmers (N = 1,294) and an online survey among veterinarians (N = 334) in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. The farmers' survey assessed the perceived risks and benefits of and need for AM usage; the intention to reduce AM usage; farmers' efficacy (i.e. perception of their ability to reduce AM usage); support from their veterinarian; and the future reduction potential of AM usage. Additionally, self-reported reduction behaviours, the perceived farmers' barriers to reduce AM usage and relationships with farmers were assessed in the veterinarians' survey. The results showed that farmers and veterinarians had similar perceptions of the risks and benefits of AM usage. Veterinarians appeared to be more optimistic than pig farmers about reducing AM usage in pig farming. Farmers believed that their efficacy over AM reduction was relatively high. Farmers' intention to reduce AM usage and veterinarians' self-reported reduction behaviours were mainly associated with factors concerning the feasibility of reducing AM usage. To promote prudent AM usage, pig farmers should learn and experience how to reduce usage by applying alternative measures, whereas veterinarians should strengthen their advisory role and competencies to support and educate farmers. © 2016 Blackwell Verlag GmbH


PubMed | Ghent University, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and 4 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Zoonoses and public health | Year: 2016

Antimicrobial (AM) resistance is an increasing problem in human and veterinary medicine. To manage this problem, the usage of AM should be reduced in pig farming, as well as in other areas. It is important to investigate the factors that influence both pig farmers and veterinarians intentions to reduce AM usage, which is a prerequisite for developing intervention measures. We conducted a mail survey among pig farmers (N=1,294) and an online survey among veterinarians (N=334) in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. The farmers survey assessed the perceived risks and benefits of and need for AM usage; the intention to reduce AM usage; farmers efficacy (i.e. perception of their ability to reduce AM usage); support from their veterinarian; and the future reduction potential of AM usage. Additionally, self-reported reduction behaviours, the perceived farmers barriers to reduce AM usage and relationships with farmers were assessed in the veterinarians survey. The results showed that farmers and veterinarians had similar perceptions of the risks and benefits of AM usage. Veterinarians appeared to be more optimistic than pig farmers about reducing AM usage in pig farming. Farmers believed that their efficacy over AM reduction was relatively high. Farmers intention to reduce AM usage and veterinarians self-reported reduction behaviours were mainly associated with factors concerning the feasibility of reducing AM usage. To promote prudent AM usage, pig farmers should learn and experience how to reduce usage by applying alternative measures, whereas veterinarians should strengthen their advisory role and competencies to support and educate farmers.


PubMed | University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Ghent University, Institute for Environmental Decisions and 3 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Veterinary record | Year: 2016

The prudent use of antimicrobials (AMs) should be widened in pig farming to reduce the risk of AM resistance (AMR) in human and veterinary medicine. It is therefore important to understand pig farmers motivators and the barriers to AM usage (AMU) on their farms. The authors investigated pig farmers self-estimated levels of AMU, their perceived benefits and risks and the need for AMs in a cross-sectional survey in Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden. The authors also compared these perceptions between the four countries and related them to pig farmers actual AMU. The results showed that farmers who used more AMs also estimated their own usage as higher. Farmers perceived many benefits but relatively few risks of AMU in pig farming. Some significant cross-country differences in farmers perceptions were found, but they were relatively small. After controlling for country differences and farm differences, only perceived risks had a significant association with AMU. The authors therefore conclude that in order to promote prudent AMU, it seems most promising to focus on the structural differences in pig farming and veterinary medicine (e.g. legislation, role of the veterinarian) among countries. In addition, interventions which aim at reducing AMU should increase farmers awareness of the risks of extensive AMU.


PubMed | Complutense University of Madrid, Economics and Public Health Group, Animal and Plant Health Agency APHA, GD Animal Health and 4 more.
Type: | Journal: Epidemiology and infection | Year: 2016

Animal health surveillance enables the detection and control of animal diseases including zoonoses. Under the EU-FP7 project RISKSUR, a survey was conducted in 11 EU Member States and Switzerland to describe active surveillance components in 2011 managed by the public or private sector and identify gaps and opportunities. Information was collected about hazard, target population, geographical focus, legal obligation, management, surveillance design, risk-based sampling, and multi-hazard surveillance. Two countries were excluded due to incompleteness of data. Most of the 664 components targeted cattle (267%), pigs (175%) or poultry (160%). The most common surveillance objectives were demonstrating freedom from disease (438%) and case detection (268%). Over half of components applied risk-based sampling (571%), but mainly focused on a single population stratum (targeted risk-based) rather than differentiating between risk levels of different strata (stratified risk-based). About a third of components were multi-hazard (373%). Both risk-based sampling and multi-hazard surveillance were used more frequently in privately funded components. The study identified several gaps (e.g. lack of systematic documentation, inconsistent application of terminology) and opportunities (e.g. stratified risk-based sampling). The greater flexibility provided by the new EU Animal Health Law means that systematic evaluation of surveillance alternatives will be required to optimize cost-effectiveness.


Fereidouni S.,Friedrich Loeffler Institute | Munoz O.,Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie | Von Dobschuetz S.,Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO | Von Dobschuetz S.,Royal Veterinary College RVC | And 2 more authors.
EcoHealth | Year: 2016

Interspecies transmission may play a key role in the evolution and ecology of influenza A viruses. The importance of marine mammals as hosts or carriers of potential zoonotic pathogens such as highly pathogenic H5 and H7 influenza viruses is not well understood. The fact that influenza viruses are some of the few zoonotic pathogens known to have caused infection in marine mammals, evidence for direct transmission of influenza A virus H7N7 subtype from seals to man, transmission of pandemic H1N1 influenza viruses to seals and also limited evidence for long-term persistence of influenza B viruses in seal populations without significant genetic change, makes monitoring of influenza viruses in marine mammal populations worth being performed. In addition, such monitoring studies could be a great tool to better understand the ecology of influenza viruses in nature. © 2014 International Association for Ecology and Health.


Postma M.,Ghent University | Backhans A.,National Veterinary Institute | Backhans A.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Collineau L.,SAFOSO AG | And 9 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2015

Disease prevention through biosecurity measures is believed to be an important factor for improvement of the overall health status in animal production. This study aimed at assessing the levels of implementation of biosecurity measures in pig production in four European Union (EU) countries and to describe possible associations between the biosecurity level and farm and production characteristics. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 232 farrow-to-finish pig herds in Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden between December 2012 and December 2013. The biosecurity status in each of these herds was described and quantified by using the risk-based scoring tool Biocheck.UGentTM (www.biocheck.ugent.be). Production and management characteristics, obtained from the herd management system and by interviewing the farmer, were analysed for their association with the biosecurity level. A causal path was designed to study statistical associations. The results showed that there was substantial room for improvement in the biosecurity status on many pig farms. Significant differences (P<0.01) both in internal and external biosecurity levels were observed between countries. The external biosecurity status, combining all measures taken to prevent disease introduction into the herd, was highest in Germany and lowest in France. The internal biosecurity status, combining all measures taken to prevent within herd disease transmission, was highest in Sweden and lowest, with a large variation, in Belgium. External biosecurity scores were in general higher compared to internal biosecurity scores. The number of pathogens vaccinated against was significantly associated with internal biosecurity status, suggesting an overall more preventive approach towards the risk of disease transmission. A higher external biosecurity was associated with more weaned piglets per sow per year. Furthermore also the weaning age and the mortality till weaning were highly associated with the number of weaned piglets per sow per year. The negative association observed between the biosecurity level and the estimated frequency of treatment against certain clinical signs of disease as a proxy for disease incidence is consistent with the hypothesis that a higher biosecurity level results in healthier animals. These findings promote an improved biosecurity status at pig farms and are of relevance in the discussion on alternative ways to keep animals healthy with a reduced necessity of antimicrobials; Prevention is better than cure! © The Animal Consortium 2015.


Babo Martins S.,Royal Veterinary College | Babo Martins S.,SAFOSO AG | Rushton J.,Royal Veterinary College | Stark K.D.C.,Royal Veterinary College | Stark K.D.C.,SAFOSO AG
Zoonoses and Public Health | Year: 2016

Collaboration between animal and public health sectors has been highlighted as a means to improve the management of zoonotic threats. This includes surveillance systems for zoonoses, where enhanced cross-sectoral integration and sharing of information are seen as key to improved public health outcomes. Yet, there is a lack of evidence on the economic returns of such collaboration, particularly in the development and implementation of surveillance programmes. The economic assessment of surveillance in this context needs to be underpinned by the understanding of the links between zoonotic disease surveillance in animal populations and the wider public health disease mitigation process and how these relations impact on the costs and benefits of the surveillance activities. This study presents a conceptual framework of these links as a basis for the economic assessment of cross-sectoral zoonoses surveillance with the aim of supporting the prioritization of resource allocation to surveillance. In the proposed framework, monetary, non-monetary and intermediate or intangible cost components and benefit streams of three conceptually distinct stages of zoonotic disease mitigation are identified. In each stage, as the final disease mitigation objective varies so does the use of surveillance information generated in the animal populations for public health decision-making. Consequently, the associated cost components and benefit streams also change. Building on the proposed framework and taking into account these links, practical steps for its application are presented and future challenges are discussed. © 2015 Blackwell Verlag GmbH


PubMed | SAFOSO AG, United Kingdom; SAFOSO AG and Economics and Public Health Group
Type: | Journal: Preventive veterinary medicine | Year: 2016

Bovine cysticercosis is caused by Taenia saginata cysticercus, the larval stage of the human tapeworm Taenia saginata. Recent European initiatives have highlighted the poor sensitivity of current surveillance for this parasite in cattle at slaughter; calling for more targeted, risk based and cost effective methods of T. saginata cysticercus detection. The aim of this study was to provide evidence that could inform such improved meat inspection activities in the United Kingdom (UK). The study included three components: (i) a farm-level case control study; (ii) the characterization of the network of movements of T. saginata cysticercus infected and non-infected animals, and an assessment of the strength of association between having passed through a farm that had previously originated an infected animal and the risk of infection; (iii) the assessment of the relationship between bovine age and gender and risk of infection. Abattoir records and cattle movement history data were used to identify farms of likely acquisition of infection (case farms) and a suitable control group. A questionnaire was used to gather farm-level characteristics and logistic regression was carried out to identify farm-level risk factors for the production of cattle found to be infected at slaughter. The case-control study provided evidence that farms situated close to a permanent potential source of human faecal contamination, and farms which used manure from animals other than cattle, were at higher risk of producing cattle later found to be infected with T. saginata cysticercus at slaughter. No other farm characteristics were identified as a risk factor for this. Analysis of the networks of animal movements showed that some individual farms played a key role as a source of T. saginata cysticercus infection; it was estimated that cattle with a history of being on a farm which previously appeared in the movement history of an infected animal were 4.27 times (P<0.001; 95% CI: 3.3-5.52) more likely to be diagnosed with T. saginata cysticercus infection at meat inspection. Male cattle aged 20 months or younger at the time of slaughter were found at lower risk of T. saginata cysticercus infection by comparison to other sex or age groups of cattle. These results, in combination with the consultation of experts and stakeholders, led to the conclusion that abattoir-based surveillance in low T. saginata cysticercus prevalence settings, such as Great Britain, could be made more targeted by stratifying cattle based on their individual movement history, sex and age characteristics.


Muellner P.,Epi interactive | Stark K.D.C.,Royal Veterinary College | Stark K.D.C.,SAFOSO AG | Dufour S.,University of Montréal | Zadoks R.N.,University of Glasgow
Zoonoses and Public Health | Year: 2016

Advances in the availability and affordability of molecular and genomic data are transforming human health care. Surveillance aimed at supporting and improving food safety and animal health is likely to undergo a similar transformation. We propose a definition of ‘molecular surveillance’ in this context and argue that molecular data are an adjunct to rather than a substitute for sound epidemiological study and surveillance design. Specific considerations with regard to sample collection are raised, as is the importance of the relation between the molecular clock speed of genetic markers and the spatiotemporal scale of the surveillance activity, which can be control- or strategy-focused. Development of standards for study design and assessment of molecular surveillance system attributes is needed, together with development of an interdisciplinary skills base covering both molecular and epidemiological principles. © 2015 Blackwell Verlag GmbH

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