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Assessing the expenditure distribution of animal health surveillance: the case of Great Britain

Abstract

Animal health surveillance in Great Britain (GB) is conducted through public and private initiatives, yet there is no consolidated information on these activities and their outcomes. We developed an inventory of livestock health surveillance programmes in GB to identify gaps in resource use and potential synergies that could be exploited. The inventory contained details of 36 livestock surveillance activities active in 2011. Data were collected by questionnaire and interviews. Livestock health surveillance funding was found to be unevenly distributed between species: the vast majority (approximately 94 per cent) was spent on cattle diseases (tuberculosis surveillance accounted for most of this expenditure), with 2 per cent on pigs, 2 per cent on sheep/goats, 1 per cent on poultry, and 1 per cent on antimicrobial resistance surveillance across all species. Consequently, surveillance efforts in GB appears heavily skewed towards regions with high cattle densities, particularly high-prevalence tuberculosis areas such as the southwest. The contribution of private schemes to surveillance funding was hard to quantify due to limited access to data, but was estimated to be about 10 per cent. There is scope to better understand the benefits of surveillance, enhance data sharing, clarify costs and identify who pays and who gains. Health surveillance should be considered within the sharing of responsibilities for disease control.

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