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Ruminant disease surveillance dashboards

The sheep and cattle 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. coccidiosis) been made by the GB surveillance network?
  • How many diagnoses were made of a specific disease (e.g. sheep scab) in a particular year by the GB surveillance network?

Access the dashboards

View the sheep disease surveillance dashboard

View the cattle disease surveillance dashboard

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. 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 may be due to more submissions from a county with a large number of sheep or cattle, sheep or cattle holdings, better vigilance among the local farmers and vets or more use of the GB diagnostic network in a particular area, perhaps because of ease of access to PM sites. Diseases not requiring a laboratory diagnosis or in herds or flocks whose veterinary practice has their own diagnostic facilities won’t be 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 can’t be used to make inferences about disease levels in individual areas.

To give some context, a broad indication of the relative sheep population is provided, based on the number of sheep per square kilometre in each county, 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

Likewise for cattle, a broad indication of the relative cattle population is provided based on the number of cattle per square kilomatre in each county:

  • 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

The diagnoses are recorded in the month in which the submissions were received.

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 dashboard works in a very similar way.

The dashboards are best viewed in full screen mode (F11 on your keyboard), and using a mouse to select disease or geographical area.


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. 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.

Filters can generally be switched off 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.