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Enteritidis Surveillance by Egg Immunology: Impact of the Sampling Scheme on the Release of Contaminated Table Eggs

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Design of surveillance programs to detect infections could benefit from more insight into sampling schemes. We address the effect of sampling schemes for Salmonella Enteritidis surveillance in laying hens. Based on experimental estimates for the transmission rate in flocks, and the characteristics of an egg immunological test, we have simulated outbreaks with various sampling schemes, and with the current boot swab program with a 15‐week sampling interval. Declaring a flock infected based on a single positive egg was not possible because test specificity was too low. Thus, a threshold number of positive eggs was defined to declare a flock infected, and, for small sample sizes, eggs from previous samplings had to be included in a cumulative sample to guarantee a minimum flock level specificity. Effectiveness of surveillance was measured by the proportion of outbreaks detected, and by the number of contaminated table eggs brought on the market. The boot swab program detected 90% of the outbreaks, with 75% fewer contaminated eggs compared to no surveillance, whereas the baseline egg program (30 eggs each 15 weeks) detected 86%, with 73% fewer contaminated eggs. We conclude that a larger sample size results in more detected outbreaks, whereas a smaller sampling interval decreases the number of contaminated eggs. Decreasing sample size and interval simultaneously reduces the number of contaminated eggs, but not indefinitely: the advantage of more frequent sampling is counterbalanced by the cumulative sample including less recently laid eggs. Apparently, optimizing surveillance has its limits when test specificity is taken into account.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2011


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