A Tool for Prioritizing Livestock Disease Threats to Scotland

Paul R. Bessell*, Harriet K. Auty, Helen Roberts, Iain J. McKendrick, B. Mark de C. Bronsvoort, Lisa A. Boden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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There are a number of disease threats to the livestock of Scotland that are not presently believed to be circulating in the UK. Here, we present the development of a tool for prioritizing resources for livestock disease threats to Scotland by combining a semi-quantitative model of the chance of introduction of different diseases with a semi-quantitative model of disease impact. Eighteen key diseases were identified and then input into a model framework to produce a semi-quantitative estimate of disease priorities. We estimate this through a model of the potential impacts of the infectious diseases in Scotland that is interpreted alongside a pre-existing generic risk assessment model of the risks of incursion of the diseases. The impact estimates are based on key metrics which influence the practical impact of disease. Metrics included are the rate of spread, the disease mitigation factors, impacts on animal welfare and production, the human health risks and the impacts on wider society. These quantities were adjusted for the size of the Scottish livestock population and were weighted using published scores. Of the 18 livestock diseases included, the model identifies highly pathogenic avian influenza, foot and mouth disease in cattle and bluetongue virus in sheep as having the greatest priority in terms of the combination of chance of introduction and disease impact. Disregarding the weighting for livestock populations and comparing equally between industry sectors, the results demonstrate that Newcastle disease and highly pathogenic avian influenza generally have the greatest potential impact. This model provides valuable information for the veterinary and livestock industries in prioritizing resources in the face of many disease threats. The system can easily be adjusted as disease situations evolve.

Original languageEnglish
Article number223
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Early online date24 Apr 2020
Publication statusFirst published - 24 Apr 2020

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2020 Bessell, Auty, Roberts, McKendrick, Bronsvoort and Boden.


  • disease
  • horizon scanning
  • introduction
  • livestock
  • risk


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