Is the Ollerenshaw fasciolosis forecasting model fit for the 21st century?

Alison Howell*, Cyril Caminade, Franz Brülisauer, Sian Mitchell, Diana Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: The Ollerenshaw forecasting model is based on rainfall and evapotranspiration and has been in use to predict losses from fasciolosis since 1959. We evaluated the performance of the model against observed data. Methods: Weather data were used to calculate, map and plot fasciolosis risk values for each year from 1950 to 2019. We then compared the model's predictions with recorded acute fasciolosis losses in sheep from 2010 to 2019 and calculated the sensitivity and specificity of the model. Results: The forecast risk has varied over time but has not markedly increased over the past 70 years. The model correctly forecasted the highest and lowest incidence years at both the regional and national (Great Britain) levels. However, the sensitivity of the model for predicting fasciolosis losses was poor. Modification to include the full May and October rainfall and evapotranspiration values made only a small improvement. Limitations: Reported acute fasciolosis losses are subject to bias and error due to unreported cases and variations in region size and livestock numbers. Conclusion: The Ollerenshaw forecasting model, in either its original or modified forms, is insufficiently sensitive to be relied upon as a standalone early warning system for farmers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Record
Issue number1
Early online date5 Mar 2023
Publication statusPrint publication - 8 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Authors. Veterinary Record published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Veterinary Association.


  • Animals
  • Fascioliasis/epidemiology
  • Forecasting
  • Incidence
  • Sheep
  • Sheep Diseases/epidemiology
  • United Kingdom/epidemiology
  • Weather


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