Towards a standardised surveillance for Trichinella in the European Union

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2011

  • Author: Alban, L.

    Danish Agriculture and Food Council

  • Author: Pozio, E.

    Istituto Superiore di Sanita

  • Author: Boes, J.

    Danish Agriculture and Food Council

  • Author: Boireau, P.

    Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments

  • Author: Boué, F.

    Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments

  • Author: Claes, M.

    Institute of Tropical Medicine

  • Author: Cook, A.J.C.

    Veterinary Laboratory Agency

  • Author: Dorny, P.

    Institute of Tropical Medicine

  • Author: Enemark, Heidi L.

    National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Bülovsvej 27, 1870, Frederiksberg C, Denmark

  • Author: Giessen, J. van der

    Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu

  • Author: Hunt, K.R.

    Veterinary Laboratory Agency

  • Author: Howell, M.

    Food Standards Agency

  • Author: Kirjusina, M.

    Institute of Food Safety, Animal Health and Environment

  • Author: Nöckler, K.

    Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung

  • Author: Rossi, P.

    Istituto Superiore di Sanita

  • Author: Smith, G.C.

    The Food and Environment Research Agency

  • Author: Snow, L.

    Veterinary Laboratories Agency

  • Author: Taylor, M.

    The Food and Environment Research Agency

  • Author: Theodoropoulos, G.

    Agricultural University of Athens

  • Author: Vallée, I.

    Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments

  • Author: Viera-Pinto, M.M.

    Universidade de Tras-os-Montes e Alto Douro

  • Author: Zimmer, I.A.

    The Food and Environment Research Agency

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Each year, more than 167 million pigs in the European Union (EU) are tested for Trichinella spp. under the current meat hygiene regulations. This imposes large economic costs on countries, yet the vast majority of these pigs test negative and the public health risk in many countries is therefore considered very low. This work reviewed the current Trichinella status across the EU as well as the national level of monitoring and reporting. It also reviewed which animal species were affected by Trichinella and in which species it should be surveyed. This information was used to design a cost-effective surveillance programme that enables a standardised monitoring approach within the EU. The proposed surveillance programme relies on identifying sub-populations of animals with a distinct risk. Low-risk pigs are finisher pigs that originate from so-called controlled housing. All other pigs are considered high-risk pigs. Controlled housing is identified by the application of a specific list of management and husbandry practices. We suggest that member states (MS) be categorised into three classes based on the confidence that Trichinella can be considered absent, in the specified sub-population of pigs above a specified design prevalence which we set to 1 per million pigs. A simple and transparent method is proposed to estimate this confidence, based on the sensitivity of the surveillance system, taking into account the sensitivity of testing and the design prevalence. The probability of detecting a positive case, if present, must be high (>95 or >99%) to ensure that there is a low or negligible risk of transmission to humans through the food chain. In MS where the probability of a positive pig is demonstrated to be negligible, testing of fattening pigs from a sub-population consisting of pigs from controlled housing can be considered unnecessary. Furthermore, reduced testing of finishers from the sub-population consisting of pigs from non-controlled housing might even be considered, if conducted in conjunction with a proportionate sampling scheme and a risk-based wildlife surveillance programme where applicable. The proposed surveillance programme specifies the required number of samples to be taken and found negative, in a MS. A MS with no data or positive findings will initially be allocated to class 1, in which all pigs should be tested. When a MS is able to demonstrate a 95% or 99% confidence that Trichinella is absent, the MS will be allocated to class 2 or 3, in which the testing requirement is lower than in class 1.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number2-4
Pages (from-to)148-160
StatePublished - 2011
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 33


  • Standardised monitoring, Risk-based surveillance, Pigs, Trichinella
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