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The Use of Risk Assessment to Decide the Control Strategy for Bluetongue in Italian Ruminant Populations

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The affiliation. assessment and management of risks is a traditional part of veterinary medicine. In the past, veterinary services involved in this type of activity usually assessed risks qualitatively. However, since the 1990s, quantitative methods have become increasingly important. The establishment of the World Trade Organization in 1994, and the promulgation of its Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the “SPS Agreement”) led to an increased application of import risk analysis and to significant improvements in the methodology of risk analysis as applied to international trade policy for animals and animal products. However, there was very little development of risk analysis in veterinary fields other than international trade and management of health risks to consumers of animal products and little has been published on its use in the choice and definition of control or prophylaxis strategies for animal diseases. This article describes a quantitative risk assessment, which was undertaken in Italy to help choose an appropriate national response strategy following an incursion of bluetongue, an infectious disease of sheep and goats. The results obtained in this study support the use of risk analysis as a tool to assist in choosing an appropriate animal disease management strategy. The use of risk analysis in the evaluation of disease management strategies also offers advantages in international trade. It makes easier the comparison of different strategies applied in the various countries, and thus facilitates the assessment of equivalence of the guarantees provided by different strategies.
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Keywords: Bluetongue; control strategy; infectious disease; risk assessment; veterinary medicine

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell' Abruzzo e del Molise, Teramo, Italy. 2: New Zealand Food Safety Authority, Wellington, New Zealand. 3: USDA—Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service—Centers for Epidemiology & Animal Health—Center for Animal Disease Information and Analysis, Fort Collins, CO, USA.

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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