RISKSUR Surveillance Symposium 2015

Organised by SVA, APHA and SAFOSO with assistance from the RISKSUR consortium

RISKSUR Symposium 24 March 2015The RISKSUR symposium, “Animal Health Surveillance 2.0” took place 24 March 2015 at Het Pand Convention Centre in Ghent, Belgium, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Society for Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine (SVEPM 2015). The symposium focused on current challenges and priorities in animal health surveillance and was a great success with over 50 participants from 17 different countries, stimulating talks, and a busy round of group discussions in a World Café format.

With a strong emphasis on discussion between surveillance program designers, policy makers, members of the RISKSUR advisory board and RISKSUR consortium members, the symposium provided an excellent opportunity to present and share novel ideas and tools about the design and evaluation of cost-effective surveillance and on how to reach an agreement on the main determinants for how these could successfully be taken forward to influence policy.

Download the detailed programme HERE.
Download the flyer HERE.

The Symposium video recordings and slides are publicly available. You can watch them on the RISKSUR YouTube channel or browse the talks below:

Session 1 / Chair: Dirk Pfeiffer (RVC)
Dirk Pfeiffer, RVC / Welcome and objectives

Links: Video, Slides

Laszlo Kuster, DG - Sanco / Science-based policy making in the field of animal health surveillance

Links: Video, Slides

Session 2 / Chair: Ulrich Sperling (SAFOSO) and Marisa Peyre (CIRAD)
Session summary

Barbara Haesler (RVC) presented a state of the art review of the surveillance systems in place in Europe and the issues linked to the adaptation of the surveillance according to the context of surveillance, based on the mapping study implemented within RISKSUR project. The aims of this mapping study were to explore gaps and opportunities for the development of surveillance (are the current designs and linked expenditures relevant and appropriate?). The study highlighted the limited use and availability of information such as economic and trade data in the design of the surveillance components. This study provided a baseline situation of the surveillance systems and components in place in EU to inform RISKSUR design and evaluation framework development. More than 300 different components were identified in the countries considered.

The second study presented by Arianna Comin (SVA) was implemented to provide a more in-depth analysis of the surveillance systems in place by targeting 26 of the hazards concerned. This study highlighted the fact that information such as design and cost was difficult to access because of a lack of transparency; terminology issues was a constraint in the data collection; output based designs are rarely used in the EU because of a lack of guidance, evaluation tools and trust in this approach and the design of the systems are often linked to historical issues and so far there has been limited flexibility in allowing changes to these designs.

Based on the first two assessments, Fernanda Dorea (SVA) presented work implemented within the RISKSUR project, to develop a surveillance design framework to provide guidance and documentation for design and surveillance and allow for potential sharing of surveillance design information. She highlighted the links between the design and evaluation framework (also under development within RISKSUR and presented in session 3 of the symposium) and the needs to review/evaluate surveillance design to inform re-design process based on evaluation outputs.

The last two presentations from Lucy Snow (APHA) and Marta Martinez-Avilez (UCM) provided respectively information on the application of the RISKSUR design framework to improve the avian influenza surveillance system in the UK and the need to move towards efficient surveillance for ASF in Europe using risk based surveillance approaches.

Barbara Häsler, RVC / Mapping of surveillance and livestock systems, infrastructure, trade flows and decision - making processes: Gaps and opportunities for improvements in surveillance

Links: Video, Slides

Arianna Comin, SVA / Towards a harmonized and transparent way to describe surveillance activities to enable output - based standards for surveillance: Lessons learned

Links: Video, Slides

Fernanda Dórea, SVA / Surveillance design framework

Links: Video, Slides

Lucy Snow, APHA / Getting more from passive surveillance: an example applying the RISKSUR framework to avian influenza in the UK

Links: Video, Slides

Marta Martinez Aviles, UCM / Tools to improve the performance of African swine fever surveillance in free countries

Links: Video, Slides

Session 3 / Chair: Lucy Snow (APHA) and Christoph Staubach (FLI)
Session summary

The third session of the day focused on the evaluation of surveillance. Daniel Traon (Arcadia) started the session by highlighting and discussing some of the internal and external challenges underlying the evaluation of animal health surveillance and control strategies.

This was followed by Dr Marisa Peyre (CIRAD) who presented the RISKSUR EVA tool, a decision support tool to assist in the process of evaluating animal health surveillance. The tool aims to provide guidance on the evaluation process with links to other tools and exiting methods as well as feedback on the feasibility of evaluation and the strengths and limitations of the evaluation. Once again the links between the evaluation and design framework presented in the morning session by Fernanda Dorea were highlighted.

The last of the RISKSUR participant talks focussed on the value of animal health information. Barbara Haesler (RVC) started by describing the challenges faced when trying to determine the economic value of surveillance and how to optimise investment in surveillance, intervention and loss avoidance. This was followed by a presentation by Alexis Delabouglase (CIRAD) on the results of a field survey in North Viet Nam to identify the end-users of surveillance information and to assess the economic value of such information to them. The final talk of the session was given by the second keynote speaker of the day, Christine Fourichon (BioEpAR, Oniris-Nantes,) who spoke about output-based standards for animal health surveillance using the case of Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus (BVDV) control activities for safe trade in western France as an example. The study illustrated how the output-based approach makes it possible to define the level of performance to achieve and to incorporate a variety of surveillance methods that makes the best use of available resources.

Daniel Traon, Arcadia / Challenges behind the evaluation of animal health surveillance and control strategies

Link: Slides

Marisa Peyre, CIRAD / The EVA tool: a decision support tool for the evaluation of surveillance systems

Links: Video, Slides

Barbara Häsler, RVC & Alexis Delabouglise, CIRAD / The value of animal health information: the economic evaluation challenge

Links: Video, Slides

Christine Fourichon, BioEpAR, Oniris - Nantes / From surveillance to action: towards output based standards for disease control

Links: Video, Slides

Round table discussions / Chair: Ulrich Sperling (SAFOSO)

The aim of the round table discussions was to get input on how the novel ideas and tools presented during the symposium could successfully be taken forward, including determinants of success and drivers and contrains to adoption. The discussions followed a World Café format with each of the 6 tables having 10 minutes to discuss one question before moving on to the next one. Rapporteurs then reported back on the discussions at the end of the session. A short summary of the discussions for each of the questions is available using the links below.

Question 1

The mapping of surveillance systems in Europe showed a large heterogeneity on surveillance designs, public availability of data, funding and reporting. Can you think of practical ways that would promote increased standardisation and high quality surveillance across Europe?

Read the full report.

Question 2

There is a substantial variability in the level of expertise within veterinary health services in EU countries. How may this influence the uptake of tools such as the surveillance design framework and the EVA tool? What can be done in order to facilitate uptake? Drivers? Constraints?

Read the full report.

Question 3

We present a surveillance design framework that support detailed design and careful documentation. How can this framework best support surveillance redesign to improve surveillance effectiveness? What do we need to make sure that the tool incorporates? Do you believe the tools presented are suitable for all diseases, or which aspects should be differentiated depending on the disease itself?

Read the full report.

Question 4

We claim that evaluation should be an intrinsic part of any surveillance system. Do you agree or disagree? What characteristics of a surveillance system, or the surveillance context, define the evaluation scope and frequency (e.g. objective, duration, history, international disease situation)?

Read the full report.

Question 5

We claim that effectiveness attributes (e.g. timeliness, sensitivity, false alarm rate) and economic efficiency criteria (e.g. cost-benefit ratio, cost-effectiveness ratio) should be integral to evaluations of surveillance. Are there other attributes in your experience that you think are more or equally important?

Read the full report.

Question 6

Which of the following statements is most in line with what you consider the role of economics to be in the decision process regarding strategic choices for animal health surveillance and control programmes?

  1. For me, the biggest value of economics lies in the judging the potential impact of a disease, which helps with prioritization.
  2. Surveillance must primarily be of high technical performance and economics is of most value to make sure that the costs are as low as possible.
  3. I usually do not ask for evidence of the surveillance benefits, as I already know that these are very large. 
  4. I am interested in the economic value of surveillance, but there are many other factors in the decision process that play a bigger role.
  5. None of these statements fit my view (explain).

Read the full report.

Question 7

We believe one of the obstacles preventing the adoption of new surveillance approaches is the slow translation of research findings into policy.

Do you agree? If so what do you think are the main reasons for this? How do you think this translation of scientific findings into policy and implementation of surveillance can be improved?

Read the full report.

Summary of round table discussions