ANSES proposes a tool for animal disease prioritisation24 July 2012

Over the last 50 years, the field of animal health has evolved substantially in France. In this context, and following the National consultation on the health sector, ANSES received a request from the Ministry of Agriculture to develop a method for prioritising the animal diseases found in metropolitan France based on all available data. In answer to this, ANSES has developed a prioritisation tool and applied it to a list of 103 diseases. The corresponding Opinion and Rapport have just been published.

Over the last 50 years, the field of animal health has evolved considerably in France, with the eradication of diseases such as brucellosis, foot-and-mouth disease, Newcastle disease, porcine cysticercosis and classical swine fever. Those diseases responsible for the most devastating animal epidemics as well as the main animal diseases which can be transmitted to humans (zoonoses) are now considered to be under control to a large extent in France.

Following the National consultation on the health sector, organised in 2010 by the Ministry of Agriculture, a new framework for the management of animal health was established (1). The notions of contagious animal diseases (CADs) and notifiable animal diseases (NADs) are no longer in use, and the dangers to animal health will now be broken down into three categories (2).

In this context, the Agency was asked by the Ministry of Agriculture to prioritise the infectious and parasitic animal diseases found in metropolitan France in the ruminant, equid, porcine, poultry and rabbit sectors. This prioritisation was performed based on the consequences of these pathologies for animal health and public health and is one of the tools which will enable the State to define the diseases in order to assign them to the categories for the new regulations. The report complements the rapport on the prioritisation of exotic animal diseases (not existing on French territory) which has already been published by ANSES.

ANSES's work

In order to fulfil this request, ANSES first developed a prioritisation tool which uses eight groups of criteria:

  • Potential for persistence and evolution of the disease \ infection in animals;
  • Economic and commercial impact of the disease in affected farms;
  • Impact of the disease on human health;
  • Social impact of the disease;
  • Impact of the disease on biodiversity;
  • Limits to control measure effectiveness;
  • Overall economic impact of control measures on the national level;
  • Social and environmental impact of control measures.

This tool was then used to prioritise 103 diseases, sector by sector.

The report produced by the Agency presents the approach used for designing the prioritisation tool, the results obtained for each sector and the analysis of these results. It provides a prioritisation summary table for each sector and a fact file for each disease analysed.

The prioritisation performed by ANSES will need to be adapted to changes in the epidemiological situation and in the data available, the areas covered (only metropolitan France was included in this work), and the criteria selected.

Thanks to the tool developed by the Agency, risk managers can adapt the ANSES prioritisation system to their own specific need in order to provide disease categorisation in the framework of the new animal health management regulations.

(1) Ordonnance 2011-862 of 22 July 2011

(2) - category 1: diseases justifying State-based funding and manpower for surveillance and possible farm control (or monitoring) measures;

- category 2: diseases for which surveillance and possible control measures are mandatory for a given area, with management conducted by sector professionals.

- category 3: diseases for which voluntary measured are to be implemented by sector professionals.