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Livestock disease surveillance dashboards

The ruminant and pig disease surveillance dashboards have been developed to share the surveillance information that is gathered from submissions to the GB veterinary diagnostic network which includes:

  • APHA’s Veterinary Investigation Centres in England and Wales
  • Scotland’s Rural College Disease Surveillance Centres in Scotland operated by SAC Consulting Veterinary Services
  • APHA’s network of universities and other partners who provide post mortem examination services under contract

The tools show you the diagnoses recorded in the GB diagnostic surveillance database, known as VIDA (Veterinary Investigation Diagnosis Analysis).

The dashboards allow you to choose a geographic area, a time period and an age group of interest. Having selected your choice of filters, you can use the dashboard to answer questions such as these:

  • What diagnoses have been made by the GB surveillance network in sheep from my local area?
  • What is the GB surveillance network's most common diagnosis in adult cattle?
  • Where in the country have specific diagnoses (e.g. swine dysentery) been made in pigs by the GB surveillance network?
  • How many diagnoses were made of a specific disease (e.g. enzootic abortion of ewes, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome or bovine virus diarrhoea) in a particular year by the GB surveillance network?

Access the dashboards

Reading the guidance on this page and on the overview page for each species dashboard is strongly recommended to get best use.

View the:

More about the data

It’s important to note that the data presented on the dashboards can only tell you what diagnoses have been made within the GB diagnostic network described above. The dashboards don’t currently include diagnoses made by other laboratories. 

The maps simply show the count of diagnoses made in each county. A higher count of diagnoses in a county may occur for several reasons, including more submissions due to a larger number of livestock or livestock holdings in a county, increased vigilance among the local farmers and vets in response to a threat, diagnostic investigations as part of disease control initiatives being implemented, or regional increased use of the GB diagnostic network rather than commercial or veterinary practice laboratories. Diseases not requiring a laboratory diagnosis or in herds whose veterinary practice has their own diagnostic facilities may be under-represented in the data.

The surveillance team sometimes encourages vets to submit samples to improve our understanding of the epidemiology of specific diseases, such as the recent call for cases of congenital deformities to investigate the distribution of the Schmallenberg virus. These limitations mean that the data and maps should not be used to make inferences or comparisons about levels of disease in different areas.

To give some context, a broad indication of the relative sheep, cattle or pig population is provided, based on the estimated average density of each livestock species population in each county:

Sheep

For sheep, according to the Annual Sheep and Goat Survey:

  • Low sheep density - up to 40 sheep per square kilometre
  • Medium - between 40 and 80 sheep per square kilometre
  • High - above 80 sheep per square kilometre

Cattle

For cattle:

  • Low density - up to 20 cattle per square kilometre
  • Medium - between 20 and 40 cattle per square kilometre
  • High - above 40 cattle per square kilometre

Pigs

For pigs:

  • Low pig density - up to 15 pigs per square kilometre
  • Medium - between 16-30 pigs per square kilometre
  • High - above 30 pigs per square kilometre

The diagnoses are recorded for the month in which the submissions were received. The dashboards are updated on a monthly basis, adding all diagnoses allocated since the previous month’s update.

If you’d like to discuss any of the disease information shown in the dashboards, please contact your local APHA Veterinary Investigation Centre.

Using the dashboards

To learn more about how the dashboard works, see the sheep disease surveillance dashboard video available on YouTube and read the guidance below. The cattle and pig dashboard works in a very similar way.

The dashboards are best viewed in full screen mode (use the full screen icon in the bottom right corner of the dashboard or F11 on your keyboard on a desktop or laptop) and using a mouse to select disease or geographical area. It is possible to zoom into an area on the map.

Filtering

The screens have been designed so you have a panel of filters on the left hand side. Select these filters first, if you want to view diagnoses within an age group or specific time period, for example adult sheep in 2016.

Sheep dashboard filtering

You can also select by clicking on parts of the visualisation – so for example you can click on a county on the map, or on the name of a disease (diagnosis). Selecting in this way will apply extra filters, so you can see the pattern of a particular disease across the country, or the pattern of all diseases within a particular county.

To select more than one county at a time, press control and click. Hovering over a county gives you a tool tip display of the count of the number of diagnoses and undiagnosed cases which gives you an idea of the throughput of diagnostic submissions. Where there is no diagnosis for the selected parameters, the area will be blank.

There is more advice within the dashboards about selection and deselection of filters and choices.

Filters can generally be switched off by using the reset button or by clicking away from the highlighted item, for example clicking on the map title will clear the selection.

Sheep dashboard county

Sheep dashboard diseases

Downloading images

Once you’ve created a useful view of the data, you can download an image to use in a document or presentation.

Sheep dashboard downloading images

You can find the Download options below the dashboard, next to the Share option. Choose Image or PDF to get a picture of the current screen.

We welcome feedback

If you have any comments or suggestions on the dashboard tools, please email the Surveillance Intelligence Unit.