Scientific Opinion on a second update on the risk for human and animal health related to the revision of the BSE monitoring regime in some Member States
The Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) monitoring system implemented in the European Union (EU) has been reviewed in this opinion for twenty five Member States (MSs). For this revision, MSs were divided into three groups depending on the number of years during which they have implemented the EU monitoring regime, and/or on the similarities of their epidemiological situations. Key assumptions made include: (i) full past compliance (for at least 6 years) with EU regulatory requirements for the surveillance and control of cattle BSE, (ii) future continuity of the BSE controls, and (iii) perfect sensitivity of the rapid tests employed for BSE surveillance. Two methodologies were applied to these three groups of MSs using available EU BSE monitoring data. The first one looks at the age of detected cases in each calendar year, while the second looks at the number of cases in successive annual birth cohorts. For the first group of MSs, these methodologies were applied in order to estimate the number of Classical BSE cases that would be missed under three different scenarios: (i) an increase in the age for BSE testing in cattle; (ii) stopping testing in cattle born after a certain date, and (iii) stopping testing of healthy slaughter cattle after certain dates. In the second group of MSs, the epidemiological situation was at least equivalent to that of the first group, and thus the conclusion was that they can be considered together for any potential revision of the BSE monitoring system. For the third group of MSs, it was not possible to calculate detailed estimates as their particular epidemiological situation compromises the application of some of the methods used. Recommendations are made in order to overcome the limitations encountered, and to ensure fitness of the EU monitoring regime for the purposes for which it is currently used.