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NOVA: Novel approaches for design and evaluation of cost-effective surveillance across the food chain

Published 2018-09-25

This project, abbreviated NOVA, strives to improve the use of surveillance data of zoonotic agents and to develop new surveillance tools and methods.

Zoonotic foodborne diseases are very common in the EU and constitute a serious challenge to public health as well as for the agricultural and food industry sectors. The One Health EJP approach is to reduce the burden of these diseases by integrating expertise of partners adross Europe and to provide tools to risk managers for disease prevention and control.

The project is divided into five scientific work packages, targeting methods to detect signals and analyse risks, but also to develop mathematical modelling tools and surveillance concepts to make better use of available data sources. The work packages are:

  • Syndromic surveillance: advance methods for real-time and near-real-time detection of early outbreak signals using existing surveillance data sources, or combined analysis of different data sources.
  • Spatial risk mapping: advance the use of geographical mapping and analysis for understanding zoonotic disease risks to farm animals and humans.
  • Food purchase data: develop the novel field of understanding of risks for sporadic disease and outbreaks by creating methods to acquire and analyse (large) datasets from food purchase registers.
  • Mathematics and economy: develop advanced mathematical modelling tools for better analysis of existing surveillance data, with a particular aim of conducting cost-effect analyses.
  • Terminology, data sources and barriers: within a One Health perspective define common surveillance concepts, locate and make use of available data sources and understand impediments in the use of surveillance data and tools that may exist in some countries or sectors.

We expect that NOVA, through its collaborative structure, will help advance the use of modern surveillance principles across Europe and that the outcomes developed will have practical and cost-saving impacts on how surveillance of existing and emerging zoonotic agents is being conducted within the EU. The project group consist of a network of 19 medical and veterinarian institutions from 10 European countries.