Hunters’ acceptability of the surveillance system and alternative surveillance strategies for classical swine fever in wild boar - a participatory approach
Background Surveillance measures can only be effective if key players in the system accept them. Acceptability, which describes the willingness of persons to contribute, is often analyzed using participatory methods. Participatory epidemiology enables the active involvement of key players in the assessment of epidemiological issues. In the present study, we used a participatory method recently developed by CIRAD (Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement) to evaluate the functionality and acceptability of Classical Swine Fever (CSF) surveillance in wild boar in Germany, which is highly dependent on the participation of hunters. The acceptability of alternative surveillance strategies was also analyzed. By conducting focus group discussions, potential vulnerabilities in the system were detected and feasible alternative surveillance strategies identified. Results Trust in the current surveillance system is high, whereas the acceptability of the operation of the system is medium. Analysis of the acceptability of alternative surveillance strategies showed how risk-based surveillance approaches can be combined to develop strategies that have sufficient support and functionality. Furthermore, some surveillance strategies were clearly rejected by the hunters. Thus, the implementation of such strategies may be difficult. Conclusions Participatory methods can be used to evaluate the functionality and acceptability of existing surveillance plans for CSF among hunters and to optimize plans regarding their chances of successful implementation.