Spatially Balanced Sampling Offers Reliable Disease Surveillance at Lower Cost

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Farmscape for March 23, 2021

Full Interview 6:53 Listen

A Swine Health Information Center funded study has found swine disease surveillance based on spatially balanced sampling offers reliable results but at a lower cost compared to random surveillance. In contrast to current swine disease surveillance methods, which attempt to prove each site is negative to demonstrate a region is negative, spatially balanced surveillance uses a few samples from many farms across a defined region to determine the region’s status. Researchers with Iowa State University have been examining the potential of spatially balanced sampling. Swine health Information Center Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg says, spatially balanced sampling methods resulted in similar findings when compared to simple random sampling and it has the potential to reduce costs.

Clip-Dr. Paul Sundberg-Swine health Information Center:
We have to keep working at refining and making sure that we are heading in the right direction with it. We are working with USDA and being in communication with them because ultimately, if we’re going to use this for national disease surveillance programs, it’s going to be with acceptance and with the assurance of USDA. However we are also offering this to producers because, as they go into barns and sample for PRRS or sample for PED or sample for what ever they want to do surveillance on, they can apply this spatially balanced surveillance scheme within the barn, as well as it could be applied within the country. It’s very scalable and producers can use it to decrease their monitoring and surveillance costs on their farm while still having the same confidence in the surveillance that they’re doing.

Dr. Sundberg notes a report on this work can be accessed through the Swine Health Information Center web site at swinehealth.Org.

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