Unweaving tangled mortality and antibiotic consumption data to detect disease outbreaks - Peaks, growths, and foresight in swine production

Ana Carolina Lopes Antunes*, Vibeke Frøkjær Jensen, Dan Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

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    As our capacity to collect and store health data is increasing, a new challenge of transforming data into meaningful information for disease monitoring and surveillance has arisen. The aim of this study was to explore the potential of using livestock mortality and antibiotic consumption data as a proxy for detecting disease outbreaks at herd level. Changes in the monthly records of mortality and antibiotic consumption were monitored in Danish swine herds that became positive for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and porcine pleuropneumonia. Laboratory serological results were used to identify herds that changed from a negative to a positive status for the diseases. A dynamic linear model with a linear growth component was used to model the data. Alarms about state changes were raised based on forecast errors, changes in the growth component, and the values of the retrospectively smoothed values of the growth component. In all cases, the alarms were defined based on credible intervals and assessed prior and after herds got a positive disease status. The number of herds with alarms based on mortality increased by 3% in the 3 months prior to laboratory confirmation of PRRS-positive herds (Se = 0.47). A 22% rise in the number of weaner herds with alarms based on the consumption of antibiotics for respiratory diseases was found 1 month prior to these herds becoming PRRS-positive (Se = 0.22). For porcine pleuropneumonia-positive herds, a 10% increase in antibiotic consumption for respiratory diseases in sow herds was seen 1 month prior to a positive result (Se = 0.5). Monitoring changes in mortality data and antibiotic consumption showed changes at herd level prior to and in the same month as confirmation from diagnostic tests. These results also show a potential value for using these data streams as part of surveillance strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0223250
    JournalP L o S One
    Issue number10
    Number of pages19
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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