Project: Development of SPatial risk assessment framework for Assessing exotic disease incuRsion and spread through Europe

Disease incursion and transmission modelling can play an important role in elucidating important pathways and dynamics of transboundary diseases. It is an important pre-requisite for preparedness and rapid response. These risk assessments are typically complex and data-hungry, limiting the real-world applicability in the event of a novel disease outbreak. However, the European Union (EU) maintains a number of extensive and real time datasets. Further data on global presence of disease is available through datasets held by the OIE, WAHID. The objective of the project is to develop an overarching model to make rapid use of available metadata to identify pathways of potential risk for classes of disease transmission (e.g. vector borne). This framework will provide invaluable information for risk assessors in the first instances of a disease outbreak where typically information on imports and routes of entry and potential for spread is undertaken on a case-by-case basis. It will also allow for an objective and systematic evaluation to inform risk-based animal health and zoonotic surveillance activities, either generically or for specific diseases. The framework will be readily adaptable not only to specific disease hazards, but also to broad classes of disease, defined by their mode of transmission. To assure feasibility and focus, the project will group biological hazards into distinct mode-of-transmission classes and develop a case study for each. For the release assessment, relevant incidence data from exporting countries will be combined with trade data, air passenger information, road transport data, and vector movement to identify important trade/movement routes from relevant geographical regions. The exposure assessment will identify the potential spread of disease via competent vectors by member state and for exposure of domestic livestock and/or humans by population density mapping and be used to inform efficient surveillance designs. Encompassing all areas in the project will be a communication network, ensuring that the modelling work builds from previous work in this area and is fit to provide scientific support to decision makers. In the event of an incursion, risk management decisions are to be taken under significant time constraints. The project will specifically address this dialogue and propose processes taking into account existing organisations and structures, to assure a rapid translation from science into policy.

Acronym SPARE
Website visit project website
Network ANIHWA
Call 2nd ANIHWA Joint Call

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency Coordinator United Kingdom
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte - Liguria e Valle d'Aosta Italy
Safoso AG Switzerland
University of Zaragoza Spain