A Cost–Benefit Analysis of Preparing National Veterinary Services for Transboundary Animal Disease Emergencies

Congratulations to Will Gilbert, David Adamson, Daniel Donachie, Keith Hamilton and Jonathan Rushton who have had the following publication ‘A Cost–Benefit Analysis of Preparing National Veterinary Services for Transboundary Animal Disease Emergencies’. You can find the full version on Hindawi here.


The natural, accidental, or deliberate release of pathogens into livestock populations carries with it a range of consequences for society, from zoonotic disease outbreaks, to changes in food security and economic welfare. An important contribution to mitigating the risk of disease outbreaks comes from having well-prepared emergency response plans and agencies with the capacity to put those plans into operation. In the case of animal disease, national Veterinary Services (VS) take a central role. Unknown and uncertain events, such as if, when and where the next disease outbreak will occur makes economic decision-making a challenge. While the costs of preparing for emergencies can be quantified in a conventional manner, the scope, scale, and likelihood of benefits actually accruing are all subject to uncertainty. This study attempts to examine the costs and benefits of preparing national VS for animal disease emergencies, including natural, accidental, or deliberate release of pathogens. Data collected as part of the World Organisation for Animal Health’s Performance of VS program for countries in East and West Africa and South East Asia were used for estimating investment costs. A state-contingent approach is used to constrain the uncertainty space in terms of disease impact. The probability of a disease event occurring and the probability of that event being contained by emergency preparation are used to describe a frontier at which investment breaks-even in a variety of scenarios. An increased probability of breaking-even on investment was found with high livestock numbers per capita and increasing intensification in livestock production systems. The method and findings provide a means to understand the benefits of preparing for uncertain events and are aimed to further the dialogue around policy development for livestock disease emergencies in lower-income countries.

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