The accuracy of the National Equine Database in relation to vector-borne disease risk modelling of horses in Great Britain
Article first published online: 7 JAN 2013
© 2012 EVJ Ltd
Equine Veterinary Journal
Volume 45, Issue 3, pages 302–308, May 2013
How to Cite
Robin, C. A., Lo Iacono, G., Gubbins, S., Wood, J. L. N. and Newton, J. R. (2013), The accuracy of the National Equine Database in relation to vector-borne disease risk modelling of horses in Great Britain. Equine Veterinary Journal, 45: 302–308. doi: 10.1111/evj.12018
- Issue published online: 9 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 7 JAN 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 16 NOV 2012 10:09AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Received: 2 MAY 2012
- Horserace Betting Levy Board
- Alborada Trust
- RAPIDD program of the Science and Technology Directorate, US Department of Homeland Security and the Fogarty International Center. Richard Newton is supported by contributions to the Animal Health Trust's Equine Infectious Disease Service from the Horserace Betting Levy Board, Racehorse Owners Association and Thoroughbred Breeders' Association. Simon Gubbins is supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Gianni Lo Iacono is funded by the ESPA award Dynamic Drivers of Disease in Africa Consortium.
- National Equine Database;
- infectious disease;
- risk modelling
Reasons for performing the study
The National Equine Database (NED) contains information on the size and distribution of the horse population, but the data quality remains unknown. These data could assist with surveillance, research and contingency planning for equine infectious disease outbreaks.
1) To assess the extent of obsolete and missing data from NED, 2) evaluate the extent of spatial separation between horse and owner location and 3) identify relationships between spatial separation and land use.
Two questionnaires were used to assess data accuracy in NED utilising local authority passport inspections and distribution of questionnaires to 11,000 horse owners. A subset of 1010 questionnaires was used to assess horse–owner geographic separation.
During 2005–2010, 17,048 passports were checked through local authority inspections. Of these, 1558 passports (9.1%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 8.7–9.5%) were noncompliant, with 963 (5.6%; 95% CI 5.3–6.0%) containing inaccurate information and 595 (3.5%; 95% CI 3.2–3.8%) classified as missing. Of 1382 questionnaires completed by horse owners, 380 passports were obsolete (27.5%; 95% CI 25.2–29.9%), with 162 (11.7%; 95% CI 10.0–13.4%) being retained for deceased horses and 218 (15.8%; 95% CI 13.9–17.7%) having incorrect ownership details. Fifty-three per cent (95% CI 49.9–56.1%) of owners kept their horse(s) at home and 92% (95% CI 90.3–93.7%) of horses resided within 10 km of their owners.
Conclusions and potential relevance
Data from a small sample survey suggest the majority of data on NED are accurate but a proportion of inaccuracies exist that may cause delay in locating horses and contacting owners during a disease outbreak. The probability that horses are located in the same postcode sector as the owner's home address is larger in rural areas. Appropriate adjustment for population size, horse–owner spatial separation and land usage would facilitate meaningful use of the national horse population derived from NED for risk modelling of incursions of equine diseases into Great Britain.