Evaluation of testing strategies for infectious salmon anaemia and implications for surveillance and control programs

P. Nérette, L. Hammell, I. Dohoo, Ian Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) is an economically important disease in New Brunswick, Canada. Current regulatory control involves detection of ISAv in broodstock, hatcheries and marine sites through a surveillance program. Prior to recent assessments of operating characteristics of diagnostic tests, the efficiency of this surveillance program was difficult to evaluate. In order to determine the optimal testing strategies for various phases of production, a cost-effectiveness analysis was done for different strategies including single testing and multiple testing with results interpreted in series or in parallel. The lowest cost testing strategy, which would achieve a group-level sensitivity (GSe) of 95% and a group-level specificity (GSp) of 95%, was determined for each production phase. Our analyses showed that the most cost-effective testing strategy depended on the production phase. If sampling is to be carried out in a freshwater facility, then broodstock should be tested by VI alone, while pre-smolts should be tested with IFAT and VI used in series. For fish reared in saltwater, parallel interpretation of results from VI and RT-PCR, or testing with VI alone, are appropriate testing strategies for broodstock. For market-fish, PCR alone is a good screening option. If one assumes the prevalence of ISAv in moribund fish is at least 50%, then a maximum of 5 fish (at a cut-point of 1 positive fish to designate a cage as positive) need to be tested at a cost of $220. If one desired to have a perfect GSp (i.e. no false positive cage designations), serial testing with IFAT and VI is a better option. However, for this strategy a maximum of 9 fish (at a cut-point of 1) need to be tested at a cost of $472.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008


  • Cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Infectious salmon anaemia
  • Surveillance program
  • Testing strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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