Saltelli global sensitivity analysis and simulation modelling to identify intervention strategies to reduce the prevalence of Eschericia coli O157 contaminated beef carcases

Victoria Brookes, David Jordan, Stephen Davis, Michael P. Ward, Jane Heller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Introduction: Strains of Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli O157 (STEC O157) are important foodborne pathogens in humans, and outbreaks of illness have been associated with consumption of undercooked beef. Here, we determine the most effective intervention strategies to reduce the prevalence of STEC O157 contaminated beef carcasses using a modelling approach. Method: A computational model simulated events and processes in the beef harvest chain. Information from empirical studies was used to parameterise the model. Variance-based global sensitivity analysis (GSA) using the Saltelli method identified variables with the greatest influence on the prevalence of STEC O157 contaminated carcasses. Following a baseline scenario (no interventions), a series of simulations systematically introduced and tested interventions based on influential variables identified by repeated Saltelli GSA, to determine the most effective intervention strategy. Results: Transfer of STEC O157 from hide or gastro-intestinal tract to carcass (improved abattoir hygiene) had the greatest influence on the prevalence of contaminated carcases. Due to interactions between inputs (identified by Saltelli GSA), combinations of interventions based on improved abattoir hygiene achieved a greater reduction in maximum prevalence than would be expected from an additive effect of single interventions. The most effective combination was improved abattoir hygiene with vaccination, which achieved a greater than ten-fold decrease in maximum prevalence compared to the baseline scenario. Conclusion: Study results suggest that effective interventions to reduce the prevalence of STEC O157 contaminated carcasses should initially be based on improved abattoir hygiene. However, the effect of improved abattoir hygiene on the distribution of STEC O157 concentration on carcasses is an important information gap - further empirical research is required to determine whether reduced prevalence of contaminated carcasses is likely to result in reduced incidence of STEC O157 associated illness in humans. This is the first use of variancebased GSA to assess the drivers of STEC O157 contamination of beef carcasses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS One
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

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