Towards a standardised surveillance for Trichinella in the European Union

L Alban, E Pozio, J Boes, P Boireau, F Boué, M Claes, AJC Cook, P Dorny, HL Enemark, J van der Giessen, KR Hunt, M Howell, M Kirjusina, K Nöckler, P Rossi, GC Smith, L Snow, MA Taylor, G Theodoropoulos, I ValléeMM Viera-Pinto, IA Zimmer

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


    Each year, more than 167 million pigs in the European Union (EU) are tested for Trichinella spp. under the current meat hygiene regulations. This imposes large economic costs on countries, yet the vast majority of these pigs test negative and the public health risk in many countries is therefore considered very low. This work reviewed the current Trichinella status across the EU as well as the national level of monitoring and reporting. It also reviewed which animal species were affected by Trichinella and in which species it should be surveyed. This information was used to design a cost-effective surveillance programme that enables a standardised monitoring approach within the EU. The proposed surveillance programme relies on identifying sub-populations of animals with a distinct risk. Low-risk pigs are finisher pigs that originate from so-called controlled housing. All other pigs are considered high-risk pigs. Controlled housing is identified by the application of a specific list of management and husbandry practices. We suggest that member states (MS) be categorised into three classes based on the confidence that Trichinella can be considered absent, in the specified sub-population of pigs above a specified design prevalence which we set to 1 per million pigs. A simple and transparent method is proposed to estimate this confidence, based on the sensitivity of the surveillance system, taking into account the sensitivity of testing and the design prevalence. The probability of detecting a positive case, if present, must be high (>95 or >99%) to ensure that there is a low or negligible risk of transmission to humans through the food chain. In MS where the probability of a positive pig is demonstrated to be negligible, testing of fattening pigs from a sub-population consisting of pigs from controlled housing can be considered unnecessary. Furthermore, reduced testing of finishers from the sub-population consisting of pigs from non-controlled housing might even be considered, if conducted in conjunction with a proportionate sampling scheme and a risk-based wildlife surveillance programme where applicable. The proposed surveillance programme specifies the required number of samples to be taken and found negative, in a MS. A MS with no data or positive findings will initially be allocated to class 1, in which all pigs should be tested. When a MS is able to demonstrate a 95% or 99% confidence that Trichinella is absent, the MS will be allocated to class 2 or 3, in which the testing requirement is lower than in class 1.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
    Issue number2-4
    Pages (from-to)148-160
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Animal diseases
    • Helminthic diseases
    • Trichinellosis
    • Trichinella
    • Zoonoses
    • Pigs
    • Livestock
    • Wildlife
    • Epidemiology
    • Monitoring
    • Surveillance
    • Meat hygiene
    • Housing
    • Testing
    • Control programs
    • Cost-effectiveness
    • Risk groups
    • Methodology
    • Mathematical modeling
    • Probability
    • Sampling
    • Risk score
    • Review of the literature
    • European Union


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