Scientific Opinion on the review on the risk for human and animal health related to the revision of the BSE monitoring regime in three EU Member States
The Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) monitoring system implemented in the European Union (EU) has been reviewed in this opinion for three EU Member States (MSs): Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. These three MSs have been already considered in a recent revision of the BSE monitoring regime in EU MSs done in 2010. However, in that revision the full assessment of these 3 MSs was not possible due to data limitations. In the current revision, updated data from the years 2004 to 2010 (i.e. one further year of BSE monitoring data compared to the former assessment) on BSE monitoring in cattle from these three MSs had been considered. Key assumptions made for this review 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 BSE controls, and (iii) perfect sensitivity of the rapid tests employed for BSE monitoring. Two methodologies were applied in order to assess the trend of the Classical BSE epidemic and to estimate its future trend, based on the number of cases per birth cohort that may be observed in the future. 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. The application of these methodologies, in particular the second one, provided an estimate of the number of BSE cases that would be missed in these three MSs as a group under a theoretical increase in the current age for BSE testing in the healthy slaughtered and at risk cattle testing groups. Recommendations were made in order to overcome limitations encountered during the analysis, and to ensure fitness of the EU monitoring regime for the purposes for which it is currently used.