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Using pre-diagnostic data fom veterinary laboratories to detect disease outbreaks in companion animals

by 1962- Shaffer, Loren Eldon

Abstract (Summary)
Emerging infectious diseases and the threat of bioterrorism have fostered a desire for improved timeliness of outbreak detection. Traditional disease reporting is reliant on confirmed diagnoses, often involving laboratory analysis that may require days to complete. Most emerging infectious and bioweapon pathogens are zoonotic organisms. Detection of zoonotic outbreaks has often relied on the identification of human cases. We investigated how data from veterinary diagnostic laboratories (VDLs) might contribute to earlier outbreak detection efforts in Ohio. We began by determining the representation of animal species in the data and evaluating the representation of human households. Companion animals comprised 98.1% of the total number of specimens submitted to a commercial, nation-wide VDL from clinics in Ohio in one year. Using estimates derived from a survey of pet owners, we determined that these data represented approximately 6.6% of Ohio households. The value of microbiology test orders was determined by quantifying the representation and potential gain in timeliness from two VDL datasets. We also investigated the potential to determine estimated count values from historical records and detect significant increases in these values using statistical-based detection methods. The data represented specimens from mostly companion animals (85.0% and 74.3%) followed by horses (8.2% and 17.2%). We determined a potential gain of timeliness in outbreak ii detection of three to five days. We developed baselines of microorganism incidence and total microbiology orders from the datasets and detected some of the clusters of pathogen-specific isolates by analyzing the weekly totals of all microbiology orders. We demonstrated how someone might use these data in a prospective system to detect outbreaks of disease earlier than traditional methods. Case reviews from a pilot system indicated the potential benefit to public health as well as veterinary community. We concluded from these investigations that: 1) data from VDLs do possess certain qualities that validate their value for syndromic surveillance, 2) these data may be especially useful for surveillance in companion animals, and 3) earlier detection of certain disease outbreaks may be possible from a prospective system using VDL data. iii
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:The Ohio State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:veterinary epidemiology zoonoses public health surveillance

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