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Evaluation of the revision of the BSE monitoring regime in Croatia

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On 22 January 2015, Croatia submitted to the European Commission (EC) a request to revise its bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) monitoring programme. The EC requested the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to provide scientific and technical assistance on an assessment of the capacity of the proposed revised monitoring programme in Croatia to allow the detection of BSE, both classical and atypical strains, with a design prevalence of at least one case per 100,000 animals in the adult cattle population of the EU26 group (EU25 and Croatia). Under this revision Croatia would stop testing all healthy slaughtered cattle and would test all ‘at risk’ cattle of active surveillance above 36 months of age. The EC resolved that the EU26 should be considered as a unique epidemiological unit for this assessment. Data related to the EU26 were updated to run the Cattle Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Monitoring Model (C-TSEMM), previously applied to similar assessments. This model allows the estimation of the design prevalence of the same surveillance regime applied by a group of countries. Using data up to 2014, the current EU25 surveillance regime would allow the detection of BSE in the EU25 with a design prevalence of at least 1 per 3,769,555 of the cattle adult population, lower (i.e. more sensitive) than the minimum requirement of 1 case per 100,000. The addition of Croatia to the EU25 epidemiological unit (EU26) assuming the current EU25 surveillance regime resulted in an ability in EU26 to detect BSE with a design prevalence of at least 1 per 3,789,838 of the adult cattle population. It is recommended: [1] to run the C-TSEMM model on an annual basis with updated data; [2] to monitor MS data in order to evaluate the surveillance coverage and [3] to identify any shortcomings affecting the overall sensitivity of the surveillance system.