Multicriteria Evaluation of Classical Swine Fever Control Strategies Using the Choquet Integral

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An outbreak of the highly contagious animal disease classical swine fever (CSF) requires the selection of an optimal control strategy. The choice of a control strategy is a decision process depending on different aspects. Besides epidemiology, economic and ethical/social aspects must be taken into account. In this study, multicriteria decision-making (MCDM) was used to evaluate six control strategies for two regions with different farm densities. A strategy including only the minimum EU control measures and the traditional control strategy based on preventive culling were compared to alternative control strategies using emergency vaccination and/or rapid PCR testing (‘emergency vaccination’, ‘test to slaughter’, ‘test to control’ and ‘vaccination in conjunction with rapid testing’). The MACBETH approach was used in order to assess the three main criteria (epidemiology, economics and ethical/social aspects). Subcriteria with both quantitative and qualitative performance levels were translated into a normalized scale. The Choquet integral approach was adopted to obtain a ranking of the six CSF control strategies based on the three main criteria, taking interactions into account. Three different rankings of the importance of the main criteria, which were to reflect the potential perceptions of stakeholders, were examined. Both the region under investigation and the ranking of the main criteria had an influence on the ‘best’ choice. Alternative control strategies were favourable to the minimum EU control and the traditional control measures independent of the farm density. Because the choice of the ‘best’ control strategy does not solely depend on the epidemiological efficiency, MCDM can help to find the best solution. Both MACBETH and the Choquet integral approach are feasible MCDM approaches. MACBETH only needs a qualitative evaluation and is therefore a comparatively intuitive approach. The Choquet integral does not only take the importance of the criteria into account but also the interaction between them.

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