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Risk-Targeted Selection of Agricultural Holdings for Post-Epidemic Surveillance: Estimation of Efficiency Gains

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20064
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2011


Current post-epidemic sero-surveillance uses random selection of animal holdings. A better strategy may be to estimate the benefits gained by sampling each farm and use this to target selection. In this study we estimate the probability of undiscovered infection for sheep farms in Devon after the 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak using the combination of a previously published model of daily infection risk and a simple model of probability of discovery of infection during the outbreak. This allows comparison of the system sensitivity (ability to detect infection in the area) of arbitrary, random sampling compared to risk-targeted selection across a full range of sampling budgets. We show that it is possible to achieve 95% system sensitivity by sampling, on average, 945 farms with random sampling and 184 farms with risk-targeted sampling. We also examine the effect of ordering samples by risk to expedite return to a disease-free status. Risk ordering the sampling process results in detection of positive farms, if present, 15.6 days sooner than with randomly ordered sampling, assuming 50 farms are tested per day.

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