A simulation study on the statistical monitoring of condemnation rates from slaughterhouses for syndromic surveillance: an evaluation based on Swiss data
Epidemiology and Infection
SUMMARYSyndromic surveillance (SyS) systems currently exploit various sources of health-related data, most of which are collected for purposes other than surveillance (e.g. economic). Several European SyS systems use data collected during meat inspection for syndromic surveillance of animal health, as some diseases may be more easily detected post-mortem than at their point of origin or during the ante-mortem inspection upon arrival at the slaughterhouse. In this paper we use simulation to
... simulation to evaluate the performance of a quasi-Poisson regression (also known as an improved Farrington) algorithm for the detection of disease outbreaks during post-mortem inspection of slaughtered animals. When parameterizing the algorithm based on the retrospective analyses of 6 years of historic data, the probability of detection was satisfactory for large (range 83–445 cases) outbreaks but poor for small (range 20–177 cases) outbreaks. Varying the amount of historical data used to fit the algorithm can help increasing the probability of detection for small outbreaks. However, while the use of a 0·975 quantile generated a low false-positive rate, in most cases, more than 50% of outbreak cases had already occurred at the time of detection. High variance observed in the whole carcass condemnations time-series, and lack of flexibility in terms of the temporal distribution of simulated outbreaks resulting from low reporting frequency (monthly), constitute major challenges for early detection of outbreaks in the livestock population based on meat inspection data. Reporting frequency should be increased in the future to improve timeliness of the SyS system while increased sensitivity may be achieved by integrating meat inspection data into a multivariate system simultaneously evaluating multiple sources of data on livestock health.