Indexed on: 13 Sep '14Published on: 13 Sep '14Published in: Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
Classical swine fever (CSF) is a highly contagious pig disease that causes economic losses and impaired animal welfare. Improving the surveillance system for CSF can help to ensure early detection of the virus, thereby providing a better initial situation for controlling the disease. Economic analysis is required to compare the benefits of improved surveillance with the costs of implementing a more intensive system. This study presents a comprehensive economic analysis of CSF surveillance in the Netherlands, taking into account the specialized structure of Dutch pig production, differences in virulence of CSF strains and a complete list of possible surveillance activities. The starting point of the analysis is the current Dutch surveillance system (i.e. the default surveillance-setup scenario), including the surveillance activities 'daily clinical observation by the farmer', 'veterinarian inspection after a call', 'routine veterinarian inspection', 'pathology in AHS', 'PCR on tonsil in AHS', 'PCR on grouped animals in CVI' and 'confirmatory PCR by NVWA'. Alternative surveillance-setup scenarios were proposed by adding 'routine serology in slaughterhouses', 'routine serology on sow farms' and 'PCR on rendered animals'. The costs and benefits for applying the alternative surveillance-setup scenarios were evaluated by comparing the annual mitigated economic losses because of intensified CSF surveillance with the annual additional surveillance costs. The results of the cost-effectiveness analysis show that the alternative surveillance-setup scenarios with 'PCR on rendered animals' are effective for the moderately virulent CSF strain, whereas the scenarios with 'routine serology in slaughterhouses' or 'routine serology on sow farms' are effective for the low virulent strain. Moreover, the current CSF surveillance system in the Netherlands is cost-effective for both moderately virulent and low virulent CSF strains. The results of the cost-benefit analysis for the moderately virulent CSF strain indicate that the current surveillance system in the Netherlands is adequate. From an economic perspective, there is little to be gained from intensifying surveillance.