Acta Veterinaria Brno, 2006, 74 (4): 632-633
Biological disaster of animal origin. The role and preparedness of veterinary and public health service. Scientific and Technical Review. Volume 25 (1), April 2006. OIE, Paris, 462 pages. ISBN O253-1933 and ISBN 92-9044-661-7
The publication was edited by Prof. Dr M. Hugh-Jones (
The first block is entitled “Prediction, perceived risk, and vulnerabilities” and contains papers dealing with biological and toxin weapons convention, misperceptions in preparing for biological attack and public perception and risk communication in regard to bioterrorism against animals and plants.
The second block is entitled “Current
and historical realities” and contains
papers dealing with the history of biological disasters of animal origin
in North America, the eradication of African swine fever in Brazil, quantitative
risk assessment case study, illegal introduction of rabbit haemorrhagic disease
virus in New Zealand and risk of Rift Valley fever epidemic in Mecca, Saudi
Arabia. The most informative is a review of recent unexpected animal disease
The third block is entitled “Proactive responses: a description of existing tools for managing the threats of biological disaster” and contains a series of useful contributions such as: distinguishing between natural and unnatural outbreaks of animal diseases, the design and establishment of epidemiological surveillance system for high-risk diseases in developed countries, animal disease outbreak control and the use of crisis management tools, the National Incident Management System - a multi-agency approach to emergency response in the USA, disease prevention and preparedness for animal emergencies in the Middle East, use and abuse of mathematical models etc.
The fourth block is entitled “Planning for the future: where do we need to be in 20 years ?” and contains several papers such as that it is hard to predict the future - the evolving nature of threats and vulnerabilities, problems of investment in preventing and preparing for biological emergencies and disasters, social and economic costs of disaster versus cost of surveillance and response preparedness and finally the challenges and options for animal and public health services in the next two decades.
useful paper, bringing new very important data on the FMD panzootic and
objective analysis of negative experience with mathematical modelling during UK
FMD disaster in 2001, the most devastating one in the modern history, was
written by Kitching, Thrusfield and Taylor. The paper is entitled “Use and abuse of mathematical models: an
illustration from the 2001 foot and mouth disease epidemic in the
example demonstrated very dangerous
harmfulness of the “armchair epidemiology” deviating the strategy and measures
from the field reality and ignoring biological character of the epizootics and
thus instead to help causing enormous losses. The mathematical modellers share
great deal of the responsibility for the
The main purpose of this book is to raise the awareness of health policy makers of the importance of biological disaster of animal origin and to provide useful information on disease emergency experience and relevant actions of international organizations.
Prof. MVDr V. K o u b a , DrSc.
I.M. Mansley, A.I. Donaldson, M.V. Trusfield and N. Honhold: Destructive tension: mathematics versus experience – the progress and control of the 2001 foot and mouth disease epidemic in Great Britain. Rev. Sci. Tech. Off. Int. Epiz. 2011:. «.. A controversial novel policy requiring the slaughter of sheep within 3 km of premises on which disease had been confirmed (the 3km cull) commenced after the peak of infection spread, was untargeted and took several weeks to complete.»
Addendum from Book Review in Agricultura Tropica et Subtropica, 45/3, 80-81 (2), 2011
Models in the management of animal diseases, OIE Review scientific and technique, Vol. 30 (2), 2011
This publication of Office International of Epizootics (OIE) on 261 pages contains 22 papers edited by P. Willeberg from the Center for Animal Disease Modelling and Surveillance, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, USA. Names of the authors from USA appear 20 times, from Canada 13 times, from UK as well as from New Zealand and Netherlands 8 times, from Australia 6 times, from Denmark 5 times, etc. The most active author was C. Dubé from Canada involved in 5 contributions. The results of the 2007 OIE questionnaire on using models in contingency plans consisted in statistical processing of the answers on nine general questions without asking for the most important aspect - experience with practical application. All contributions, except for two, represent imaginative speculations isolated from practical reality. The basic fact is usually not taken into account, namely, that the infections are extremely complex non-quantifiable dynamic biological phenomena with almost infinite variability of their etiological agents as far as types, subtypes, strains, pathogenicity, virulence, tenacity, etc. Furthermore, the immense variability of influencing factors such as ecological, economic, social, human etc. is not taken into account either. Every case is different in time and place as well as in forms, course, ability and way of spreading etc. requiring different measures. Four papers are dedicated to foot and mouth disease: estimation of foot and mouth disease transmission parameters, foot and mouth disease model verification and sensitivity analysis of the New Zealand standard model of foot and mouth disease. The contribution entitled “Destructive tension: mathematics versus experience – the progress and control of the 2001 foot and mouth disease epidemic in Great Britain” is the most important one. Used mathematical model elaborated in New Zealand (without experience with this disease – never reported) contributed to the most catastrophic losses in the world veterinary history – about 10 million animals (including almost three million healthy animals slaughtered unnecessarily). It was carnage by computer! This paper represents for all the countries serious warning against the use of mathematical models for the management of animal health without previous testing to confirm their feasibility and effectiveness. Therefore, this contribution is extremely beneficial for avoiding similar situation in the future. Member country governments financing the OIE need information useful for the solution of their anti-epizootic problems. The published models of pure abstract nature are not ready for general practical application. The utility of mathematical models as tactical decision support tools is very limited by the innate unpredictability of disease spread.