Proceedings of the VIIIth International Symposium on Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics, Paris, 8-11 July 1997, p. 10.02.01 – 10.02.03









Kouba V.  


  Former: Prof. of Brno Univ. of Vet. Sciences and Chief,Animal Health Service,FAO UN; P.B. 516, 17000 Prague,Czech  Rep.



At the end of the fifties Czech government authorities decided to start programme against major  animal diseases to improve animal population health with the aim to contribute to food production and  to human health protection against diseases transmissible from animals. The programme covered  total territory  (78 864 km2 ) with about 3.5 million heads of cattle, almost 5 million pigs and more than 30 million chickens  in predominating large scale production systems. Human population was about 10 million inhabitants. This paper analyzes 30 years' period  - 1959-1988.



New concept (priority to preventive medicine), strategy, legislation (veterinary law and government resolution), methods, organization and management to fit for the programme were introduced during 1959-1960. Unified state veterinary service manpower, material (equipment, supplies) and budget were strengthened. A dense network of  well staffed and equipped diagnostic laboratories (one central, 14 provincial and 35 regional) was developed. New institutes for research, postgraduate education, production and control of diagnostics and vaccines and for veterinary extension as well as a network of rendering plants were built during initial stages. Priority diseases with success probability  were selected, considering disease occurrence, economic consequences, public health impact, social and biological importance, solution feasibility, availability of effective  methods  (proved by pilot tests) and of necessary inputs. The highest priority was given to eradication (to reach zero prevalence and incidence) of bovine brucellosis by 1964 and elimination (to reach zero prevalence) of bovine tuberculosis by 1968. Selected diseases' reference laboratories and advisory groups of the best specialists were set up. Particular reporting, information and analyses systems were established.  Veterinary extension helped to attract  farmers' and public support.



In all ranches, regions and provinces objective-oriented animal health programmes were elaborated and carrying out according to government decision and national veterinary directorate instructions. High level inter-resort

national, provincial and regional  committees were coordinating programme activities. Epizootiologists (national, provincial  and regional) were in charge of professional management, supervision and major problems' solution. State veterinarians in field practice had the key part in programme implementation.  Intensive field and abattoir investigations to discover all diseased herds were largely supported by laboratory tests. Particular attention was given  to critical moments (e.g., animals' transfer) and places (e.g., quarantines, markets, genetic herds). Early

discovery of diseased herds and animals was providing opportunity for prompt and effective application of the measures. State veterinarians working daily among farm animals and systematically testing healthy herds as well as veterinarians in abattoirs played decisive role  in finding out population health reality. Postgraduate training contributed to the uniformity in application of diagnostic and control methods. Programmes and methods were periodically evaluated, adjusted and updated according to new  experience and  research results.



The budget of state veterinary service was covering preventive, control, curative and inspection activities as well as facilities construction.  Average annual budget was 502 mil. korunas - Kcs (average exchange rate was 10 Kcs = 1 US$; inflation was close to zero), i.e. it  was spent 15 060 mil.Kcs during evaluated period.  About  5/10 was for salaries,  3/10  for material,  1/10 for  new buildings and reconstruction, 1/10 for travel and other expenses. Thanks to convincing results of  the programme the budget could be gradually strengthened reaching 688 mil.Kcs in 1988 (77 % was for grass-root level activities in regions, 13 % for diagnostic laboratories, 7 % for management,  etc.). In that year the service had 8548 employees (e.g., 2551 veterinarians in regions; more than 1000 employees, incl. 250 veterinarians, in diagnostic laboratories, etc.). Vaccine production factories and rendering plants were self-financed with limited  state contribution.  Research institute was financed separately. Programme activities were for the farmers and livestock enterprises free of charge.

On the other hand, state veterinary service income  for curative activities (in field, clinics and hospitals),  preventive measures (provided to all ranches according to annual contracts), etc. was reaching  in average 246 mil.Kcs annually, i.e. during the evaluated period the income was 7 370 mil.Kcs. Maximum income was reached in 1988 (435 mil.Kcs).  Hence net cost of  the veterinary service was in average 256 mil.Kcs annually (in 1988 - 253 mil.Kcs), i.e. total was 7 680 mil.Kcs.

Cumulative livestock output  value reached 1 867 687 mil.Kcs (annual average  was 62 256 mil.Kcs) during 1959-1988; comparing with cumulative veterinary service cost  following results were received:

      - Ratio cumulative vet. service gross cost / cumulative livestock  output   =  0.0081

      - Ratio cumulative vet. service net cost / cumulative livestock  output   =  0.0041.

In 1988 national agriculture output  was 79371 mil.Kcs, i.e. 9.48 % of gross national output. Livestock output was 46611 mil.Kcs, i.e. 58.73 % of agriculture output. For comparing of state veterinary service cost with  livestock output and value (about 50 000 mil.Kcs of protected food animal populations) following indicators were used:

      - Ratio vet. service gross cost / livestock output  =  0.0148 

      - Ratio vet. service net cost / livestock output    =  0.0054

      - Ratio vet. service gross cost / livestock output + value  =  0.0071 

      - Ratio vet. service net cost / livestock output + value  =  0.0026.

For emergency (e.g., FMD) special fund was available. Selected specific programmes were supported also from other  part of government  budget as the subsidies (e.g., for  elimination of tb cattle 695 mil.Kcs during 1960-1968, for eradication of Aujeszky's disease in pigs -  215 mil.Kcs during 1981-1987). Insurance agency supported  programmes against bovine brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis and Aujeszky's disease in pigs with about 400 mil.Kcs.



Thanks to successful implementation of  the programme, disease free status (OIE standard) was reached in bovine brucellosis (eradicated by 1964 using radical method and intensive serological testing after prohibition of vaccination), bovine tuberculosis (eliminated by 1968 using radical method and intensive allergic testing), enterovirus encephalomyelitis of pigs (1973), foot-and-mouth disease (1975), bovine trichomoniasis (1976), hog cholera (1979), Newcastle disease (1980), transmissible gastroenteritis of pigs (1981), bovine trichophytosis (1984), porcine brucellosis (1985), bovine genital campylobacteriosis (1986), Aujeszky's disease in pigs (1987),  enzootic bovine leucosis (1992),  bovine babesiosis and hypodermosis.  Fascioliasis and pulmonary helminthiasis in cattle and sheep were reduced almost to zero prevalence. Many other diseases, infectious and non-infectious, were reduced.

Radical method proved to be the most effective in several diseases. During the programme 1 136 913 heads of cattle (78 % were cows) affected by tuberculosis, 790 herds (ranches) affected by bovine brucellosis with  150 000  heads of cattle, 640 herds affected by Aujeszky's disease with 900 000 pigs, etc. were replaced by healthy herds and animals.



The programme contributed as main factor  to animal production output, productivity and reproducibility improvement:  Examples comparing  initial (1959) and final (1988) values: gross livestock output increased from  23915 mil.Kcs to 46611 mil.Kcs, i.e. by 94.90 %; meat total from 621000 MT to 1273000 MT,i.e. by 104.99 %; beef from 236000 MT to 515000 MT, i.e. by 118.22 %; pork from 361000 MT to 750000 MT, i.e. by  107.75 %; poultry meat from 43000  MT to 194000 MT, i.e. by 351.16 %; milk from 2563 to 4763 mil. liters, i.e. by 85.84 %; eggs from 1606 to 3643 mil. pieces, i.e. by 126.84 %, milk/cow/year from 1790 to 3847 liters, i.e. by 114.91 %; eggs/hen from 108 to 248, i.e. by 129.63 % and calves/cow/year from 0.81 to 1.03, i.e. by 27.16 %. Producers' income increased accordingly. Country self-sufficiency in production of food of animal origin was reached. Import of animals and their products could be reduced almost to zero under very strict conditions improving protection against introduction of  diseases from abroad.  




During evaluated period  the occurrence of zoonoses in human population was reduced significantly. Values of saved human lives and health cannot be expressed in monetary terms.

The major result was zero incidence of  human brucellosis caused by Brucella abortus after eradication of this disease in cattle in 1964. It was estimated saving about of  1 750 persons from this zoonosis during following 25 years (cumulative benefit avoiding  new 70 cases reported annually before starting the programme).

Elimination of bovine tuberculosis (in 1960 every third cow was tb positive) conduced to reduction of reported cases of  bovine tb in humans.  This number was reduced from  thousands at the beginning to 8 very old cases (infected decades ago)  discovered in 1988.  No more new cases in children were reported after 1970.

Reduction of cattle trichophytosis (T. verrucosum  ) to zero prevalence of infected herds caused  that the number of  reported new cases of all human trichophytoses fell from 1316 in 1965 to 110 in 1985, i.e. twelve times.



The delay of benefit against cost  was  serious problem for benefit/cost (B/C) evaluation of animal health programmes. It took time to reach B/C>1. It was not easy to convince decision-makers on  input effect (return) when during initial stages B/C was minor than 1. In case of bovine tb annual B/C>1 was reached after 2 years and  cumulative B/C>1 after 3 years. However, successful programme benefit  was increasing every year. Examples (values in mil.Kcs):


Disease           P r o g r a m m e         Initial  Annual    Cumulative   B e n e f i t        Cum. Benefit/Cost   Ratio

                           Duration     Cost            Loss                at end  after 5y  after 10y        at end   after 5y  after 10y


Bovine tb             1959-68    1489            1039                 4799      9994    15189             3.22      6.71       10.20

Aujeszky's  d.      1981-87      650              250                 1750      3000      4200             2.69      4.62         6.46


Cumulative benefit  was applied for saved lives and health being reproduced, i.e. transferred to new generations avoiding previous losses.  B/C would be even much higher if  the cost, as inanimate input  value, were discounted.



Strong state veterinary service in terms of manpower, material, facilities and budget  proved to be the key factor for  successful  territorial animal population health programme eradicating and reducing major diseases. The results contributed decisively  to reach country self-sufficiency in food of animal origin and to reduce zoonoses in human population. Cost of  unified and centrally budgeted state veterinary service was relatively very low in comparison with increasing national livestock output and with the value of  protected food  animal populations. Ratio of veterinary service net cost to livestock output was minor than 0.01. Specific programmes' benefit/cost (B/C)>1 was reached only after certain period of B/C<1. Benefit of saved animal lives and health  was increasing being transferred, due to the reproduction, to new generations avoiding previous  negative consequences. Therefore, it was used benefit cumulation and not discount applicable for inanimate values. Considering B/C also after several periods provided more objective evaluation of animal health programme efficiency. Monetary criteria are not  suitable for evaluation of saved human lives and health values.



Anon., 1961-1988.   Anthropozoonoses Surveillance Yearbook.  State Veterinary Administration, Prague.

Anon., 1959-1988.  Statistics Yearbook of Czech Republic.  State Statistical  Office, Prague.

Anon., 1959-1988.  Technical and Economic Complex Analysis Yearbook.  State Veterinary Administration,                               Prague.

Anon., 1961-1988.  Veterinary Statistics Yearbook.  Inst. for Vet. Extension, State Veterinary Administration,                                Prague.