Within the European Union (EU), detailed legislation has been developed for cattle, but not deer, to minimise disease risks associated with trade in animals and animal products. This legislation is expressed as input-based standards, providing a detailed outline of the activity required (for example, testing of animals and application of defined control measures), on the expectation that an adequate output (for example, confidence in freedom) will be achieved. Input-based standards are at odds with the increasing shift towards output-based standards, particularly in OIE rules governing international trade. In this paper, we define output-based standards to achieve and maintain freedom from tuberculosis (TB) in farmed deer, with reference to EU member states. After considering the probability of freedom achieved for cattle under existing EU legislation, we defined a 'free farmed deer holding' as one with a probability of freedom from infection of at least 99%. We then developed an epidemiological model of TB surveillance systems for deer holdings, incorporating different surveillance strategies, including combinations of diagnostic tests, and a variety of different scenarios relating to the potential for introduction of infection. A range of surveillance strategies were identified to achieve and maintain a free farmed deer holding, and worked examples are presented. The surveillance system sensitivity for varying combinations of screening and confirmatory tests in live animals, animals at slaughter and on-farm deaths is also presented. Using a single test at a single point in time, none of the TB tests routinely used in farmed deer is able to achieve an acceptable probability of TB freedom. If repeat testing were undertaken, an acceptable probability of TB freedom could be achieved, with differing combinations of the surveillance system sensitivity, frequency of testing and risk of introduction. The probability of introduction of infection through the importation of infected deer was influenced by the use of a pre-movement test (assumed 90% test sensitivity and negative test results), the TB prevalence in the source herd and the number of animals imported. A surveillance system sensitivity of at least 81% was achieved with different combinations of annual live animal surveillance and surveillance of animals at slaughter or on-farm deaths. This methodology has broad applicability and could also be extended to other diseases in both deer and other species with relevance to trade in animals and animal products.
University College Dublin ->