COST Action CA17110

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


The main aim of this project is to harmonize the results or outputs of surveillance and control programmes for non-regulated cattle diseases in different European member states.

This will enable the comparison of health statuses between different regions and the comparison of the effectiveness of different control measures as well as their cost-effectiveness. The results of this project will facilitate safe trade and support the improvement of disease control measures, which is of great importance for the EU agriculture since the cattle sector contributes one third to the total gross production value.


The implementation of disease control programmes has many positive effects for farmers, the industry and consumers by ensuring food safety, since they increase animal health and welfare and reduce antibiotic use.

More notably, control programmes reduce direct disease losses (e.g. by decreasing the number of diseased animals and increasing production capabilities) and indirect disease losses (e.g. consequences of trade constrains). For cattle diseases that are regulated at the EU level, requirements for the disease free status of the animal, herd and/or country are set. Since control programmes bring many benefits, several European countries have implemented different national or regional programmes to control cattle diseases that are not under EU regulations, such as bovine viral diarrhoea, paratuberculosis, Mycoplasma bovis and salmonellosis.


Control programmes create difficulties in trade between different regions or countries, as trade has the potential to introduce infectious diseases into regions where the disease is not present, which may lead to substantial economic losses.

Another problem is the lack of agreed methodologies to assess and compare health statuses, namely disease freedom or freedom from infection among cattle that are moved between different regions. Moreover, EU level control programmes are based on inputs, which mean that they prescribe for example: the study design, sampling scheme and diagnostic methods. In contrast, output-based control measures prescribe what needs to be achieved, but not in which way. Thus, output-based control can enhance the safety of animal trade, while allowing countries to prescribe control measures that they consider are the most suited for their circumstances.

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