Monitoring endemic livestock diseases using laboratory diagnosticdata: A simulation study to evaluate the performance of univariateprocess monitoring control algorithms

Ana Carolina Lopes Antunes, Fernanda Dorea, Tariq Hisham Beshara Halasa, Nils Toft

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Surveillance systems are critical for accurate, timely monitoring and effective disease control. In this study, we investigated the performance of univariate process monitoring control algorithms in detecting changes in seroprevalence for endemic diseases. We also assessed the effect of sample size (number of sentinel herds tested in the surveillance system) on the performance of the algorithms.

    Three univariate process monitoring control algorithms were compared: Shewart p Chart 1 (PSHEW), Cumulative Sum2 (CUSUM) and Exponentially Weighted Moving Average3 (EWMA). Increases in seroprevalence were simulated from 0.10 to 0.15 and 0.20 over 4, 8, 24, 52 and 104 weeks. Each epidemic scenario was run with 2000 iterations. The cumulative sensitivity4 (CumSe) and timeliness were used to evaluate the algorithms’ performance with a 1% false alarm rate. Using these performance evaluation criteria, it was possible to assess the accuracy and timeliness of the surveillance system working in real-time.

    The results showed that EWMA and PSHEW had higher CumSe (when compared with the CUSUM) from week 1 until the end of the period for all simulated scenarios. Changes in seroprevalence from 0.10 to 0.20 were more easily detected (higher CumSe) than changes from 0.10 to 0.15 for all three algorithms. Similar results were found with EWMA and PSHEW, based on the median time to detection. Changes in the seroprevalence were detected later with CUSUM, compared to EWMA and PSHEW for the different scenarios. Increasing the sample size 10 fold halved the time to detection (CumSe = 1), whereas increasing the sample size 100 fold reduced the time to detection by a factor of 6.

    This study investigated the performance of three univariate process monitoring control algorithms in monitoring endemic diseases. It was shown that automated systems based on these detection methods identified changes in seroprevalence at different times. Increasing the number of tested herds would lead to faster detection. However, the practical implications of increasing the sample size (such as the costs associated with the disease) should also be taken into account.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
    Pages (from-to)15-20
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Endemic disease
    • Laboratory results
    • Univariate process monitoring control algorithms

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