Slaughter of Infected and In-Contact Animals
Slaughter of infected and in-contact animals (stamping out) is a policy practised in many countries, mostly for controlling exotic diseases. The epidemiological rational of this action is to prevent continuous virus excretion by infected animals. In some countries, stamping out of LSD is defined by legislation, which is often linked to trade limitations. Stamping out might carry serious economic ramifications that impair people livelihood. In addition, it can severely affect accurate surveillance if not accompanied by adequate and timely compensation, as it may cause severe mistrust between farmers and the veterinary services. Therefore, if not required by legislation, stamping out should be considered carefully by decision-makers before it is implemented. There are several factors that should be taken into account when deciding on stamping out: The epidemic stage on time of detection—stamping out will be much less effective if the epidemic has already spread among many herds. The demographic and political situation in the affected region is of high importance as these may be related to mistrust between the farmers and the government and might have other ramifications. Eventually, the cost of stamping out should be considered against its benefit. These are related to economic impact of LSD as specifically discussed in Chapter 3 of this book. A less radical approach is to perform only partial stamping out, i.e. culling only generalized cases. The rationale behind this policy is based on the assumption that efficient transmission occurs when arthropod vectors bite skin lesions that have significantly higher amounts of virus compared to the amounts of virus in blood, intact skin and other tissues (Babiuk et al. 2008). Performance of partial stamping out necessitates careful in-herd surveillance as its efficiency depends on the early detection of new cases and their fast removal.
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