The European Commission for the Control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EuFMD)

Risk Monitoring Tool for FAST diseases (RMT-FAST)

Cross-border movement of animal pathogens can lead to dramatic social and economic consequences. Therefore countries implement prevention measures (e.g. surveillance, border controls and trade restrictions) to reduce the probability of entry of new pathogens.

The Risk Monitoring Tool (RMT-FAST) is a risk-ranking framework that assesses the potential introduction of foot and mouth and similar transboundary (FAST) animal diseases (Peste des Petits Ruminants, Lumpy Skin Disease, Rift Valley Fever, Sheep and Goat Pox) diseases to a ‘target country’ from source countries.  It is a simple and easy-to-use tool designed with the aim of assisting health authorities to identify the most likely routes and source countries for the introduction of these diseases.

The tool uses information provided by both EuFMD and the user of the tool. EuFMD activities in the European neighbourhood countries are used to inform scores regarding the epidemiological situation (disease status) and the national control measures for FAST diseases (mitigation measures). The user will supply information about the “connection factors” which are used to estimate the strength of connection between two countries through a given pathway (see below).

Premise

Connections: Countries may be connected in different ways, such as trade, proximity and transportation routes; each of these connections may contribute to one or more disease spread pathways.

Pathways: Diseases can spread between countries via different transmission pathways, namely airborne, vector, wild animals, animal product, live animal and fomite. Each pathway will be more or less effective for each disease.

Risk of FAST disease entry will be proportional to: the disease burden in the source country; the strength of connection between the source country and target country and the effectiveness of different pathways at transmitting disease.

Scores

Data collected regarding the epidemiological situation and the mitigation measures in place is used to attribute a score to each source country. Then, the possible connections (i.e. live animal trade, geographic proximity, etc…) between the target and source countries are scored by the user on the basis of the available information. The model combines all mentioned scores to rank the relative likelihood of pathogen introduction in the target country through six pathways (airborne, live animal contact, product of animal origin trade, vectors, fomites, wild animals).

How does RMT work?

RMT calculates a Risk score for each disease and source country, the absolute value is irrelevant. For each disease, scores can be compared between pathways and source countries. However, the score of different diseases should NOT be compared. The higher the score, the higher the risk of entry of that disease from that country

In brief:

Risk score = disease risk * sum across pathways (pathway effectiveness*connection strength for that pathway)