Comparison of methods for estimation of individual-level prevalence based on pooled samples

David W. Cowling, Ian Gardner, Wesley O. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


We review frequentist and Bayesian approaches for estimating animal-level disease prevalence using pooled samples obtained by simple random sampling. We determine the preferred approach for different prevalence scenarios and with varying knowledge about sensitivity and specificity values. When sensitivity and specificity are perfect or known, we can choose between the large-sample theory estimates and the one-to-one relationship exact estimates. When sensitivity and specificity are unknown, we must use large-sample theory estimates or Bayesian methodology (which gives exact estimates). However, when the large-sample theory produces a negative lower confidence limit, we must use one of the exact methods. We compare estimates from each approach using culture results from pools of 20 eggs from three flocks on a California ranch that were producing eggs that were contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis phage type 4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-225
Number of pages15
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 9 1999


  • Bayesian methods
  • Pooled testing
  • Prevalence
  • Salmonella enteritidis
  • Sensitivity
  • Specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of methods for estimation of individual-level prevalence based on pooled samples'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this