An analysis of Salmonella control program by the researchers has revealed it to be quite cost-effective in Hungary.

A retrospective analysis of the Hungarian Salmonella Control Program (HSCP) for 2007 to 2017 was done by the delegates to examine its cost-effectiveness as a food safety intervention.

Results were published in the ‘Food Control’ journal recently.

They were focused to calculate costs and benefits from the state’s view point i.e. excluding the perspective of consumers or industry.  Health sector expenses and national production loss due to work absence and due to illness are the main components of public budgets.

As per the researchers, costs spent on the interventions are nullified by the health gain since it led to decrease in human cases, hospitalizations and deaths, as well as lowered costs of health care services and productivity loss.

National and international databases, literature or the researchers’ assumptions are the sources for all the data.  Illness expenses and a quality-adjusted life year (QALY) -based burden costs were estimated from human salmonellosis cases.

The outcomes were then matched with a reference where incidence, hospitalization and mortality rates after 2007 were extrapolated by tuning for annual alterations in population demographics, assuming that Hungary has adopted no control measures.

To combat zoonotic diseases, including Salmonella, the EU introduced an extended control program in 2007 aiming to lower the frequency of Typhimurium and Salmonella Enteritidis in poultry flocks (turkeys, breeding hens, laying hens, broilers) and pigs.  Animals tested positive for these are killed and eggs are ruined.

For such programs, 50 percent of costs were funded by EU between 2007 and 2014 is for control and testing, as compensation for affected animals being culled, and for destroyed products, vaccines, cleaning and disinfection of the holding sites and apparatus.  Annual reports of National Food Chain Safety Office (NÉBIH) provided the costs for HSCP.

Hungarian data shows a decreased instance of cases, hospitalization and deaths resulting from Salmonella Enteritidis and Typhimurium infections in flocks as well as in humans.

Investigations depict that the Salmonella control program in Hungary prevented several fatal cases and deaths between 2007 and 2017 at a public expense of €97.2 million ($115 million).
When compared with the original data collected from the ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) database, it was deduced that HSCP was not cost-effective. The program wasn’t successful in lowering the overall fatal cases over the analyzed period.

However, cost-effectiveness of the HSCP improved significantly if only the part paid from national sources was considered rather than the total program.
Researchers proclaim-

“Differences in main analysis and sensitivity analysis findings make it crystal clear that how methodological considerations can affect the findings of such cost-utility assessments, and underline the requirement for a co-ordinated methodological system such that the cost-effectiveness of different programs could be compared to each other either nationwide or globally.”

Results of analyses like these can assist food safety managers and policymakers at national or EU levels to assess their Salmonella programs and determine the cost-effectiveness of their intervention.

Researchers declared that further steps of the analysis would also include the perspectives of the industries.

 

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