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Quantitative Risk Assessment for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Low- or Zero-Prevalence Countries: The Example of Norway

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A predictive case-cohort model is applied to Norwegian data to analyze the interaction between challenge and stability factors for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) during the period 1980–2010. For each year, the BSE risk in cattle is estimated as the expected number of cases. The age distribution of expected cases as well as the relative impact of different challenges is estimated. The model consists of a simple, transparent, and practical deterministic spreadsheet calculation model, in which the following country-specific inputs are entered: (i) annual imports of live cattle and meat and bone meal, (ii) age distribution of native cattle, and (iii) estimated annual basic reproduction ratio (R0) for BSE. Results for Norway indicate that the highest risk of BSE cases was in 1989, when a total BSE risk of 0.13 cases per year was expected. After that date, the year-to-year decrease in risk ranged between 3% and 47%, except for a secondary peak in 1994 at 0.06 cases per year. The primary peak was almost entirely (99%) attributable to the importation of 11 cattle from the United Kingdom between 1982 and 1986. The secondary peak, in 1994, originated mainly from the recycling of the U.K. imported cattle (92%). In 2006, the remaining risk was 0.0003 cases per year, or 0.001 per million cows per year, with a maximal age-specific incidence of 0.03 cases per million per year in 10-year-old cattle. Only 15% of the cases were expected in imported cattle. The probability of having zero cases in Norway in 2006 was estimated to be 99.97%. The model and results are compared to previous risk assessments of Norway by the EU.

Keywords: BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy); cohort analysis; mad cow disease; risk assessment

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-10-01

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