Control and eradication programs for non-EU regulated cattle diseases in the Netherlands

18 Aug 2021
Santman-Berends IMGA, Mars MH, Weber MF, van Duijn L, Waldeck HWF, Biesheuvel MM, van den Brink KMJA, Dijkstra T, Hodnik JJ, Strain SAJ, de Roo A, Veldhuis AMB and van Schaik G

Within the European Union, infectious cattle diseases are categorized in the Animal Health Law. No strict EU regulations exist for control, evidence of disease freedom, and surveillance of diseases listed other than categories A and B. Consequently, EU member states follow their own varying strategies for disease control. The aim of this study was to provide an overview of the control and eradication programs (CPs) for non-EU regulated cattle diseases in the Netherlands between 2009 and 2019 and to highlight characteristics specific to the Dutch situation. In the Netherlands, CPs are in place for six endemic cattle diseases: bovine viral diarrhea, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis, salmonellosis, paratuberculosis, leptospirosis, and neosporosis. These CPs have been tailored to the specific situation in the Netherlands: a country with a high cattle density, a high rate of animal movements, a strong dependence on export of dairy products, and a high-quality data-infrastructure. The latter specifically applies to the dairy sector, which is the leading cattle sector in the Netherlands. When a herd enters a CP, generally the within-herd prevalence of infection is estimated in an initial assessment. The outcome creates awareness of the infection status of a herd and also provides an indication of the costs and time to achieve the preferred herd status. Subsequently, the herd enrolls in the control phase of the CP to, if present, eliminate the infection from a herd and a surveillance phase to substantiate the free or low prevalence status over time. The high-quality data infrastructure that results in complete and centrally registered census data on cattle movements provides the opportunity to design CPs while minimizing administrative efforts for the farmer. In the CPs, mostly routinely collected samples are used for surveillance. Where possible, requests for proof of the herd status are sent automatically. Automated detection of risk factors for introduction of new animals originating from a herd without the preferred herd status i.e., free or unsuspected, is in place using centrally registered data. The presented overview may inspire countries that want to develop cost-effective CPs for endemic diseases that are not (yet) regulated at EU level.