COST Action CA17110

Standardizing OUtput-based surveillance to control Non-regulated Diseases of cattle in the EU (SOUND control)


Several countries have implemented programmes to control non-regulated cattle diseases in the European Union, impairing the comparison of the confidence of freedom for cattle originating from different countries. In order to facilitate safe trade, there is a need to support the development of transparent methods that enable comparison of outputs of surveillance, control or eradication programmes.

In this Action, Innovative methods for Standardizing OUtput-based surveillance to control Non-regulated Diseases in the EU (SOUND control), work will be conducted in five workgroups to develop a generic and joint understanding about the requirements and characteristics needed for proof of freedom and subsequent costs-effectiveness, regardless of heterogeneities in the underlying data. SOUND control will coordinate, stimulate and assist with initiatives to explore and implement a widely adaptable, output-based framework to substantiate confidence of freedom from infection and assess epidemiological and economic equivalence of control efforts.

The workgroups will describe current control programmes, provide requirements for an output-based framework, evaluate data availability and assess available and innovative methods for objective and standardised output-based comparison.

With the new Animal Health Law, it is anticipated that disease control will progressively change towards output-based approaches. SOUND control will support the Animal Health Law by providing requirements and demands for a single general regulatory framework, adaptable to multiple diseases, which aims to enhance the safety of trade. Although the primary focus of this Action concerns non-regulated diseases, the outcomes of this work will be applicable to regulated diseases in the EU, which are currently underpinned by input-based standards.

Since the start of the Action the contents of the new Animal Health Law ((EU) 2016/429) became available. Many diseases that were formerly not included in the regulation are listed as category C, D or E in the new Animal Health Law, which was set into force in April 2021. Cattle diseases listed under these categories are relevant to some member countries and in case of a category C disease measures are needed to prevent such disease to spread to parts of the Union that are officially disease-free or that have eradication programmes (2018/1882). For category D diseases measures are needed to prevent the disease from spreading on account of its entry into the Union or movements between member states and for category E diseases there is a need for surveillance within the Union (2018/1882). In practise this means that there are no mandatory regulations to eradicate diseases listed as category C, D or E, but in some situations countries can set additional trade demands depending on their disease status and the listing of the specific cattle disease. We refer to these diseases as diseases with no compulsory regulation. For many of the diseases listed as C, D or E, countries have no control programme or have their own specific control programme that vary between member states and output-based evaluation remains relevant as it may support the validity of the programme design. Therefore, it was decided to include the cattle diseases listed as category C or higher in SOUND control, as it was still relevant to obtain an overview of the presence and design of control programmes for these diseases throughout Europe.

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Objectives and Background