Decision support beyond total savings—Eligibility and potential savings for individual participants from changes in the national surveillance strategy for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) in Ireland
Surveillance and management of livestock diseases is often evaluated with reference to expected sector-wide costs. In contrast, we calculate losses or savings for individual herd owners of a change in monitoring strategy during a national cattle disease eradication programme: bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) in Ireland. The alternative strategy differs in how the disease is identified; by its sample- rather than census-based approach; and by its greater cost per test. We examined the costs faced by each breeding herd if testing were conducted using serology on a sample of young stock, in contrast to the current method of tissue-tag testing of all newborn calves. Following best knowledge of the likely costs, the following input values were used: i) €2.50 per test for tissue-tag testing and €7.66 for serology, ii) serology conducted on a sample of 10 young stock per management group from either the 6–12 month or 9–18 month cohorts; iii) 3 scenarios for the number of management groups: one per herd (M∞), one per 100 cows (M100) and one per 50 cows (M50). We found that many herds would often not be able to supply a suitable sample of young stock for serology or would face higher testing costs than when using tissue tag testing. The largest number (25%) of herds would benefit from participating in the change if sampling were done in October. These could annually save between €2.1 million under M∞ and €0.8 million under M50 (€108 - €49 per herd). However, analysing herd-level data we found that 90% of all Irish breeding herds would save less than €1.42 per cow or €99 in total per annum under M∞, and €0.59 per cow or €36 in total under M50. In a sensitivity analysis, we allowed serology costs to vary between €2 and €10 per animal. Herds at the 10 t h percentile of most savings made from switching would save at most €155 (M∞ at €2 per serology test) but would not save anything under M50 at costs ≥ €10. We conclude that, under these assumptions, the expected reduction in testing costs for the majority of beneficiaries would barely outweigh the practical implications of the strategy switch or the risks to the eradication programme associated with sample based surveillance. This study does not assess the cost-effectiveness of alternatives post-eradication.
Publication history: Accepted - 9 April 2018; Published online - 11 April 2018
BVD, Bovine viral diarrhoea, Tissue-tag testing, Serosurveillance, Eradication, Costs
Tratalos, J. A., Thulke, H.-H., Graham, D. A., Guelbenzu Gonzalo, M. and More, S. J. (2018) ‘Decision support beyond total savings—Eligibility and potential savings for individual participants from changes in the national surveillance strategy for bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) in Ireland’, Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 155, pp. 38–44. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2018.04.005.