Scientific Opinion on Review of the European Union Summary Report on trends and sources of zoonoses, zoonotic agents and food-borne outbreaks—Terms of reference 2 to 7
The Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW) Panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has evaluated the European Union Summary Report on Trends and Sources of Zoonoses, Zoonotic Agents and Food-borne Outbreaks by EFSA and ECDC (the report) with regard to data needs and subsequent analyses that will minimise the impact of existing data gaps and inconsistencies. Specific assessments performed for bovine tuberculosis, echinococcosis, Q fever, brucellosis, rabies, cysticercosis and tularaemia show that the report gives an accurate picture of the epidemiological situation for the infections which have an EU harmonised monitoring system. Generally the data analysis is descriptive; further analysis for specific purposes and quantification of the trends should be considered. Specific information for each disease should contain (i) a clear case definition, (ii) a clear description of sampling techniques and diagnostic tests used, (iii) relevant epidemiological characteristics and (iv) relevant control measures or surveillance. Prioritisation of diseases from a public health viewpoint is not in the remit of the AHAW Panel. Proposed criteria to assess the value of including additional diseases in the report are (1) the disease is reported regularly in animals and humans in some EU Member States; (2) the disease is considered a serious public health issue; and (3) monitoring in animals is epidemiologically justifiable. The first two criteria are inclusion criteria; the third is used to prioritise diseases for inclusion in the report. The last section of the opinion addresses the value of the data included in the report for AHAW risk assessment. Their usefulness is often compromised by missing case definition, insufficient metadata or outdated data. It is recommended that data needs are further analysed to improve the preparedness of the AHAW Panel to answer risk questions, via some readily available and stable data as well as good knowledge of ad-hoc data models and sources throughout the EU.