A Quantitative Release Assessment for the Noncommercial Movement of Companion Animals: Risk of Rabies Reintroduction to the United Kingdom
In 2004, the European Union (EU) implemented a pet movement policy (referred to here as the EUPMP) under EU regulation 998/2003. The United Kingdom (UK) was granted a temporary derogation from the policy until December 2011 and instead has in place its own Pet Movement Policy (Pet Travel Scheme (PETS)). A quantitative risk assessment (QRA) was developed to estimate the risk of rabies introduction to the UK under both schemes to quantify any change in the risk of rabies introduction should the UK harmonize with the EU policy. Assuming 100 % compliance with the regulations, moving to the EUPMP was predicted to increase the annual risk of rabies introduction to the UK by approximately 60-fold, from 7.79 × 10-5 (5.90 × 10-5, 1.06 × 10-4) under the current scheme to 4.79 × 10-3 (4.05 × 10-3, 5.65 × 10-3) under the EUPMP. This corresponds to a decrease from 13,272 (9,408, 16,940) to 211 (177, 247) years between rabies introductions. The risks associated with both the schemes were predicted to increase when less than 100 % compliance was assumed, with the current scheme of PETS and quarantine being shown to be particularly sensitive to noncompliance. The results of this risk assessment, along with other evidence, formed a scientific evidence base to inform policy decision with respect to companion animal movement.