What is animal health intelligence?
I view animal health intelligence as the combination of disease intelligence, welfare intelligence and food-producing industry intelligence.
Disease intelligence, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations , includes:
all the activities related to the identification of potential hazards that may represent a risk to animal health.
It is pivotal in supporting veterinary services and other stakeholders, and performed through a multidisciplinary approach by: collecting and integrating expertise and knowledge to support disease analysis, prevention, early warning, and early response.
The use of new technologies allows authorities to track disease events on a real-time basis by combining various sources of information (e.g. molecular, geographical…) into regional and global surveillance systems. We are becoming more and more disease intelligent.
However, animal health intelligence must go beyond the monitoring of disease events by including solid situation awareness of animal welfare at various stages along the food-producing chain, and an understanding of the risk management involving actors in this value chain.
I was very fortunate to be part of the team of researchers analysing data from the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, a large-scale epidemiological field trial conducted between 1998 and 2005 over 3,000km2 in the UK and costing over £70 million. I quantified the outcomes of bovine tuberculosis control strategies using individual herd data and measures of local risk; and reported directly to the UK Department of Food and Rural Affairs.
I have also worked extensively on identifying risk factors for welfare-related and health-related observations during meat inspection, and on understanding reporting behaviour in sentinel surveillance systems.
Read more about my past work on animal health intelligence in the scientific articles below:
- Experiences with a voluntary surveillance system for early detection of equine diseases in Switzerland (2016).
- Timely Reporting and Interactive Visualization of Animal Health and Slaughterhouse Surveillance Data in Switzerland (2015), in collaboration with Epi-Interactive.
- Risk factors for whole carcass condemnations in the Swiss slaughter cattle population (2015).
- Bovine Tuberculosis Risk Factors for British Herds Before and After the 2001 Foot-and-Mouth Epidemic: What have we Learned from the TB99 and CCS2005 Studies? (2013).
- Localized reactive badger culling increases risk of bovine tuberculosis in nearby cattle herds (2012).