Comparative assessment of analytical approaches to quantify the risk for introduction of rare animal diseases: The example of avian influenza in Spain
Posted: December 9th, 2011 - 7:17pm
Source: Risk Analysis
Trade of animals and animal products imposes an uncertain and variable risk for exotic animal diseases introduction into importing countries. Risk analysis provides importing countries with an objective, transparent, and internationally accepted method for assessing that risk. Over the last decades, European Union countries have conducted probabilistic risk assessments quite frequently to quantify the risk for rare animal diseases introduction into their territories. Most probabilistic animal health risk assessments have been typically classified into one-level and multilevel binomial models. One-level models are more simple than multilevel models because they assume that animals or products originate from one single population. However, it is unknown whether such simplification may result in substantially different results compared to those obtained through the use of multilevel models. Here, data used on a probabilistic multilevel binomial model formulated to assess the risk for highly pathogenic avian influenza introduction into Spain were reanalyzed using a one-level binomial model and their outcomes were compared. An alternative ordinal model is also proposed here, which makes use of simpler assumptions and less information compared to those required by traditional one-level and multilevel approaches. Results suggest that, at least under certain circumstances, results of the one-level and ordinal approaches are similar to those obtained using multilevel models. Consequently, we argue that, when data are insufficient to run traditional probabilistic models, the ordinal approach presented here may be a suitable alternative to rank exporting countries in terms of the risk that they impose for the spread of rare animal diseases into disease-free countries.