A qualitative import risk assessment of Equine Infectious Anaemia for movements of live equidae into the Netherlands
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Scope: Equine infectious anaemia (EIA) is a blood-borne disease of equidae caused by the equine infectious anaemia virus (EIAV). No treatment or vaccination is available for this disease. Inapparent carrier animals can transmit the disease and act as reservoirs. EIA is present in multiple countries in the European Union (EU) and other parts of the world from which the Netherlands imports equidae. National and international legislation, surveillance and control measures are in place to prevent entry and spread of EIA in the Netherlands. The purpose of this risk assessment was to qualitatively assess the residual risk associated with EIA introduction into the Netherlands through importation of live equidae. Methods: Four likelihood levels were determined; negligible, low, moderate and high. The likelihood of entry was based on assessment of EIA presence in exporting countries, import numbers, requirements for testing and border inspection. Three categories; imports with and without requirement for testing prior to export and illegal imports, were assessed separately. The likelihood of exposure was assessed by assessing three different routes of exposure. These routes are transmission by vectors, iatrogenic transmission by the reuse of needles or blood/plasma transfusion and possible other transmission routes. The likelihood of entry and exposure were combined by the use of a risk matrix to determine the likelihood of occurrence. Four categories of consequences were assessed; animal health, animal welfare, socio-ethical and economic consequences. To determine the level of risk, the likelihood of occurrence was combined with the magnitude of consequences by the use of another risk matrix. Results: The likelihood of entry was considered to be low. The likelihood of exposure was considered to be moderate. These two likelihoods were combined and resulted in a low likelihood of occurrence. The combined magnitude of these consequences was low. Combining the likelihood of occurrence and the magnitude of the consequences, the overall risk of associated with imports of live equidae is low. Discussion: The import risk of EIA into the Netherlands by import of live equidae is low. According to the definition, this means that attention and certain risk reduction measures may be required before authorizing import according to the definition used in this assessment. It was chosen to perform a qualitative instead of a quantitative analysis. This kind of analysis may be more subjective to interpretation of results, as the likelihood and risk are described in words instead of numbers.