Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Distribution of cow–calf producers’ beliefs about reporting cattle with clinical signs of foot-and-mouth disease to a veterinarian before or during a hypothetical outbreak


We surveyed cattle producers to determine the prevalence of key disease reporting beliefs.
We compared beliefs related to disease reporting before or during an outbreak.
Important barriers included a lack of knowledge related to clinical signs and risk levels.
Increasing information on post-reporting procedures may improve cooperation.
Veterinarians are seen as a significant source of social pressure for disease reporting.


Understanding the prevalence of cattle producers’ beliefs regarding disease reporting can help officials improve surveillance programs with passive data collection. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Texas in 2008 and 2009 to determine beliefs about reporting cattle with clinical signs consistent with foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) either prior to (scenario 1) or during an on-going outbreak of FMD (scenario 2). Two questionnaires were developed and distributed to Texas cow–calf producers in order to evaluate their behavioral, control, and normative beliefs related to disease reporting. The context for each behavior was provided through the use of scenarios, and belief strength was measured using a 7-point Likert-like scale. Beliefs were compared across scenarios and demographic categories, and the effect of scenario on belief examined using ordinal logistic regression. Respondents agreed that reporting clinically suspect cases would have positive economic and emotional consequences; however, when an outbreak was known to be present, producers were less likely to agree with many of the positive outcomes of reporting. Important barriers to disease reporting indicated by producers included a lack of knowledge related to clinical signs of highly contagious cattle diseases and which cattle are at risk of contracting FMD. In general, beliefs about barriers to reporting did not differ based on scenario. Veterinarians and regulatory authorities were the groups perceived to most strongly expect disease reporting, regardless of the scenario. Risk education for producers related to clinical signs of reportable livestock diseases, post-reporting procedures, and an understanding of FMD introduction and spread may improve the reporting of cattle with clinical signs consistent with FMD.


  • Foreign animal disease control;
  • Cattle;
  • Disease reporting;
  • Beliefs;
  • Foot-and-mouth disease;
  • Surveillance;
  • Theory of planned behavior
Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 970 494 7276; fax: +1 970 494 7319.