Brucella canis

Ms Buckley made this Freedom of Information request to Animal and Plant Health Agency Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was successful.

Dear Animal and Plant Health Agency,

For overseas dogs imported into the UK (split down into healthy dog/routine screening versus suspected brucella canis based on clinical signs, not origin of the dog), please can you tell me (broken down by year, starting in 2010):
1. For how many dogs was only a RSA tested carried out? How many were positive? how many negative?
2. For how many dogs was only a SAT tested carried out? How many were positive? how many negative?
3. For how many dogs was only a Elisa tested carried out? How many were positive? how many negative?
4. For how many dogs was the SAT/Elisa combination of tests carried out on a single sample (i.e. same blood sample submitted on the same day? How many were positive? how many negative?
5. For each of the above, how many dogs who tested positive were re-tested at a later day using a) the same test(s) used originally), and b) a different test?
6. How many of the dogs for whom a blood sample was submitted to you for confirmatory testing following a positive test on an in house blood testing kit subsequently tested negative either at the initial confirmatory (state numbers here) or subsequent APHA test (state numbers here)?
7. How many of your laboratory workers have been a) suspected and b) confirmed by testing of becoming infected by brucella canis at the APHA laboratories, and of those testing positive, how many have become sick from brucella canis.

Yours faithfully,

Ms Buckley

APHA Access to Information Team (ATI),

Our ref: FOI2023/05553

Dear Ms Buckley,

Thank you for your email which we received on the 17 March requesting
information. Your request is being considered in respect to the access to
information legislation.

We aim to answer your request no later than 18th April, which is 20
working days from the date we received it. If we are unable to meet this
deadline we will contact you to explain the reason.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact us at the email
address below.

Yours sincerely,

Access to Information Team

[1][Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]

References

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1. mailto:[Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]

Dear Animal and Plant Health Agency,

For the avoidance of doubt, I would like to make an additional clarification. For the request regarding the combination of two tests, in respect of the request regarding positive/negative, this will require this information to be reported in the following format:
Number of tests in which the dog was POSITIVE / POSITIVE (SAT / ELISA)
Number of tests in which the dog was POSITIVE / NEGATIVE (SAT / ELISA)
Number of tests in which the dog was NEGATIVE / POSITIVE (SAT/ELISA)
Number of tests in which the dog was NEGATIVE / NEGATIVE (SAT/ELISA)
You will appreciate from the context that request (5) brings, that the above should be in respect of the first submission to APHA to test an individual dog, and not include any second round testing.

Yours faithfully,

Ms Buckley

APHA Access to Information Team (ATI),

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Buckley,

Please find attached the response to your request of 17th March for
information on Dog imports - Brucella canis cases.

Yours sincerely

Access to Information Team

[1][Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]

References

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1. mailto:[Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]

Thank you for your email to clarify what I am seeking. I have set this out below and included a reduction in the range of dates requested to reduce workload. I hope that you will find this helpful.
Date range:
- To reduce workload for yourselves, I am happy to restrict to the date range from the date that Brucella Canis became a reportable disease to 20.04.2023 or the date on which you collate the information (whichever date is closest to the date of publishing the final outcome of this request.
Parameters (inclusion criteria):
- To include samples directly submitted to APHA via a veterinary practice AND samples submitted via IDEXX AND samples submitted to yourselves via any other UK based laboratory
- To only include UK based dogs. If this is not possible to confirm this parameter can be relaxed but please indicate this, and provide an indication of how many samples (actual or approximate but make this clear) it is not clear for.
- To only include the first blood sample submitted for external laboratory diagnostics to identify Brucella canis.
- To include both healthy dogs being screened AND dogs with suspected clinical signs consistent with a potential diagnosis of Brucella canis, BUT with the data split by these two categories.
- To include dogs that are the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, ….n in a run of individual cases that would be included in a ‘case’ (as previously defined by yourselves) but show in the dataset which individual dogs are associated with which case (as a grouping variable). If this is not possible, please indicate why and I can take the data with this limitation.
- Dogs that underwent the following:
- iELISA only
- ELISA only (I understand the methodology may have changed part way through the date period but clarification on this would be useful?)
- SAT
- RSA
- iELISA + SAT
- iELISA + RSA
- ELISA + SAT
- ELISA + RSA
- SAT + RSA
- iELISA + SAT + RSA
- ELISA + SAT + RSA
So in essence, I am requesting the following variables (levels/categories within variable) listed in as excel column headings (each row would then be the individual dog) (I cannot show as a clip screen or table due to WDTY functionality issues):
DOG ID
1st submission (y/n)
Year of submission
Reason for testing? (screening (H = healthy) versus suspected BC based on clinical signs (D = diseased))
Case the individual dog relates to (e.g.1, 2,3, etc)
Test undertaken (iE, E, S, R, iE+SAT, etc i.e. each individual or combination listed above)
Test result – iELISA (+ / - / n/a)
Test result – ELISA (+/-/n/a)
Test result – SAT (+ / - / n/a)
Test result – RSA (+/-/n/a)
Further BC testing carried out at APHA? Yes / no
If yes, what testing? (iE, E, S, R, iE+SAT, CULTURE, etc)
Test result (per type of test, expand columns if necessary, one column per test carried out) (+ / -)

But, where the test was quantitative / semi-quantitative and this additional numerical data is available (e.g. 1/400, SP ratio value, etc), an additional column per test which then allows reporting of this data would also be useful and so requested too.
I trust that this data will be readily retrievable and I suspect is already available in a similar format given scientific interest in this area so should not be too problematic to retrieve. I am happy to accept as a Excel, SPSS, or Minitab file, and am happy to discuss further by phone to agree an acceptable alternative format if to minimise reformatting data where necessary.
In addition, I remind you of my other request:
7. How many of your laboratory workers have been a) suspected and b) confirmed by testing of becoming infected by brucella canis at the APHA laboratories, and of those testing positive, how many have become sick from brucella canis.
Many thanks for your continued cooperation with this request.
Best wishes,
Ms. Buckley

Dear Animal and Plant Health Agency,

In addition, it has come to my attention that the lab test request forms that accompany the sample may indicate the country of origin. I would be grateful if you could also include this information, with unknown inserted where this information has not been provided.

I thank you for your cooperation in this matter, and for the value that this data will bring to the ongoing veterinary and rescue discussions around Brucella canis risk and diagnostic interpretation.

Yours faithfully,

Ms Buckley

APHA Access to Information Team (ATI),

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Buckley,

Please find attached the response to your request of 20th April for
information on Brucella canis information.

Yours sincerely

Access to Information Team

[1][Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]

References

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1. mailto:[Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]

Dear Animal and Plant Health Agency,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Animal and Plant Health Agency's handling of my FOI request 'Brucella canis'.

The information that I have requested is all of key importance to helping veterinary professionals to utilise the diagnostic testing process for Brucella canis as a tool for clinical decision making, and for owners to better understand the implications of a positive result. Given the large number of imported dogs in the UK, this has far reaching implications and has the ability to impact on a considerable number of clinical consultations for the foreseeable future.

It is clearly not vexatious to want access to diagnostic information which should already be in the public eye. It is good practice to report the 95% confidence interval along the the sensitivity and specificity values, and so far, I have been unsuccessful in obtaining these for the combined testing sensitivity and specificity values either via this website or in private communications with John McGiven.

Likewise, prevalence of the disease within the population of interest is a critical piece of information for calculating the positive predictive values. As epidemiological scientists you will appreciate the role that prevalence has to place in calculating the risks of both false positives and false negatives, and you are the only organisation able to provide vets, vet nurses, and the public with this information that allows this to be quantified both overall, split by healthy (screening only) and diseased, split by country, etc., and also in a way that accounts non-independence of some data points. Receiving this data set (ideally), or the summary statistics, is a critical part of allowing clinicians to estimate the pre-test probabilities of a positive result, etc.

Likewise, it is known that the use of Brucella ovis can reduce the specificity of the test. It is not unreasonable therefore to want to know if Brucella ovis or Brucella canis was the bacterium used to create the antigen in the SAT and iELISA tests being used to test dogs for evidence of being sero-positive for Brucella canis, given the concerns around false positives in any population of healthy animals being routinely screened and in which the prevalence of disease is expected to be relatively low.

Numerous requests are being made as additional concerns and queries are raised. As this is a relatively new disease to the UK public and veterinary professionals it is to be expected that additional concerns and queries will be identified as the individual(s) becomes increasingly familiarised with the procedures and testing, and responds to additional queries directed at them. Your responses will be of considerable interest to many people, both veterinary professionals and members of the public alike, and so there is a wider interest in this material than just my own personal interest.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

I look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully,

Ms Buckley

APHA Access to Information Team (ATI),

Dear Ms Buckley,

Thank you for your email which we received on 9 May, challenging our
response to your request for information. We are handling this as a
request for an internal review.

If your request was handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(FOIA), section 45 Code of Practice states that an internal review should
take no longer than 20 working days, or 40 in exceptional circumstances.

If your request was handled under the Environmental Information
Regulations 2004 (EIRs), regulation 11(4) requires a public authority to
consider the complaint and respond to the complainant as soon as possible
and no later than 40 working days from the time when the complaint was
received.

We can inform you that the 5th July is the 40 ^th working day from the
date we received your complaint.

If you have any queries about this email, please contact us at the email
address below.

Yours sincerely

Access to Information Team

[1][Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]

References

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1. mailto:[Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]

SM-APHA-Enquiries APHA, Animal and Plant Health Agency

Our ref: IR2023/08875
 
Dear Ms Buckley
With regard to the Internal Review request APHA received on 09 May 2023,
challenging our response to your request for information.
On this occasion we will not be able to respond to your request for
information within the initial 20 working day deadline and we are working
to get the response to you by the 40 working day deadline of 05 July 2023.
 
Please be assured that we continue to work hard reviewing all the
associated information and will provide a response as soon as is possible.
 
Regards
 
ACCESS TO INFORMATION TEAM
Email: [1][Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]
 
 
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APHA Access to Information Team (ATI),

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Buckley,

Please find attached the response to your request for an internal review
of 9th May for information on Brucella canis information.

Yours sincerely

Access to Information Team

[1][Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]

References

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1. mailto:[Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]

APHA Access to Information Team (ATI),

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Buckley,

Please find attached the response to your request of 20th April for
information on Brucella canis information.

Yours sincerely

Access to Information Team

[1][Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]

References

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1. mailto:[Animal and Plant Health Agency request email]

APHA Access to Information Team (ATI),

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Buckley,

Please find attached the response to your request of 20th April for
information on Brucella canis information.

Yours sincerely

Bill Paterson

Information Rights Team

[email address]