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A framework for reviewing livestock disease reporting systems in high‐risk areas: assessing performance and perceptions towards foot and mouth disease reporting in the Thrace region of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey

Motta, Paolo, Garner, Graeme, Hòvari, Mark, Alexandrov, Tsviatko, Bulut, Abdulnaci, Fragou, Ilektra A., Sumption, Keith
Transboundary and emerging diseases 2019 v.66 no.3 pp. 1268-1279
animal health, biosecurity, cattle, emerging diseases, expert opinion, foot-and-mouth disease, goats, herds, lumpy skin disease, monitoring, peste des petits ruminants, production technology, risk reduction, sheep, stakeholders, veterinarians, veterinary services, Bulgaria, Greece, Southern European region, Turkey (country)
Disease reporting is an essential frontline component of surveillance systems, particularly for detecting incursions of new and emerging diseases. It has the advantages of being comprehensive and continuous, with the potential to reduce the time of disease detection and the extent of consequent spread. A number of exotic diseases, including sheep and goat pox, lumpy skin disease, peste des petits ruminants and foot and mouth disease have historically entered into south‐eastern Europe through the Thrace region, which extends across neighbouring areas of Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. In this high‐risk area, multiple factors can reduce the sensitivity of disease reporting across the diverse production systems and animal health services need robust and effective disease reporting systems. While describing a training exercise designed to provide animal health services of the three countries with the knowledge and skills for conducting comprehensive in‐country assessments, we provide an initial evaluation of the sensitivity of foot and mouth disease reporting and identify gaps and constraints in the Thrace region. An expert elicitation approach was used to consult official veterinarians from central and local animal health authorities of the three countries, and scenario trees modelling was applied to analyse the collected data. The reported sensitivity of disease reporting often varied between the central and local veterinary authorities within the three countries. Awareness of clinical disease, of reporting procedures and of biosecurity measures affected the early stages of disease reporting, particularly in the production systems identified at lower reporting sensitivity such as small ruminant's herds, mixed bovine herds and backyard herds. Despite its limitations this training exercise provided an effective framework (a) to develop capacities of the veterinary services in the region and (b) to supply initial evidence for guiding further interventions targeting those sectors and stakeholders at lower reporting sensitivity to reduce risks of disease introduction.