Epidemiological performance and subsequent costs of different surveillance strategies to control bovine herpesvirus type 1 in dairy farms

Anouk Veldhuis*, Inge Santman-Berends, Birgit Schauer, Jet Mars, Frederik Waldeck, Christoph Staubach, Gerdien van Schaik

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    This study aimed at comparing the surveillance program of bovine herpesvirus type 1 (BHV1) as laid down by EU Decision 2004/558/EC and 2007/584/EC (‘conventional design’) with an alternative design. The alternative design was based on monthly bulk-milk testing, clinical surveillance and a risk-based component that involves testing of animals that are purchased from non-free cattle herds. Scenario-tree analyses were carried out to determine sensitivities of the surveillance system (and its components) and the monthly confidence of freedom on herd-level. Also, the expected costs per surveillance design and components thereof were calculated. Results showed that the conventional (EU) and alternative surveillance designs to obtain a BHV1-free status performed equally well in terms of sensitivity. However, total costs per cattle herd to obtain a free status were highest in the conventional design. In an endemic situation and with a within-herd design prevalence of 10%, the conventional design led to a varying probability of freedom ranging from 99.6% to 100% per month. With the alternative design, in this situation, a constant probability of freedom of >99.9% per month was found. In a disease-free situation, both designs performed equally well (probability of freedom >99.9% per month). The yearly costs per farm for monitoring the disease-free status decreased by approximately 25% in the alternative design. The alternative strategy based on monthly bulk-milk monitoring therefore was deemed most cost-effective. This study showed that the surveillance regime to attain and maintain a BHV1-free status as described by EU-legislation can be improved to reduce the monitoring costs without reduction of the system's sensitivity, given a within-herd design prevalence of 10%. The assessment of various surveillance designs could be highly useful to support decision-making towards a more risk-based approach of animal health surveillance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-114
    Number of pages10
    JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


    • BHV1
    • Economic evaluation
    • Probability of freedom
    • Scenario tree modelling
    • Surveillance system


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