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VTEC O157 on Farm Control: Effective Measures, Perception and Risk Communication


Cattle are known reservoirs for zoonotic pathogens such as VTEC O157, Campylobacter and Cryptosporidea that do not cause disease or production loss in cattle. The EU Zoonosis Directive 2003/99 places responsibility for control of zoonotic pathogens with the farmers, despite the reduction benefiting public good only. Effective control measures to reduce zoonotic pathogens in cattle, demand three factors: 1) cost effective control measures with proven impact; 2) awareness of the risk of zoonotic pathogens and 3) partnership with farmers.

This project uses the information collected on the epidemiology of VTEC O157 in cattle through project OZ0138 to consider the above goals. Impact of various biosecurity measures will be investigated using data from an intervention study conducted under OZ0138. A stochastic model will be developed from an existing framework to simulate transmission of VTEC within a beef farm. Biosecurity measures effective at controlling VTEC O157 identified in the analysis will be tested using the simulation model to predict the impact on a beef farm. The results will be communicated to cattle farmers, veterinarians and scientists through meetings and articles in trade magazines together with general information about VTEC O157 and general advice on how to avoid transmission and limit infection. Cattle farmers` perception of risk, responsibility and attitudes towards control of zoonotic pathogens will be investigated using interviews, comparison of previous and new information of voluntary adoption of control measures and questionnaires. Experience and knowledge of these issues will also be obtained from abroad to discuss effective methods of implementing control of zoonosis on farms. An insight into farmers attitudes and perceptions will facilitate future collaboration.


Objectives: <OL> <LI>
Investigate the adoption of control measures to reduce VTEC O157 at farms participating in OZ0138 intervention study.
<LI> Risk communication of interventions for on-farm control VTEC O157 to cattle farmer and scientific communities.
<LI> Investigate the attitudes and opinions of British cattle farmers on responsibility in control of zoonotic pathogens to facilitate communication and collaboration with cattle farmers to control zoonosis.
<LI> Further development of a stochastic model of VTEC O157 transmission within beef herds
<LI> Predict the impact of various interventions (bio-security measures) on the prevalence of VTEC O157 within a herd

Veterinary Laboratories Agency, UK
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