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Estimating the hidden number of scrapie affected holdings in great Britain using a simple, truncated count model allowing for heterogeneity

Böhning, D. and Del Rio Vilas, V. J. (2008) Estimating the hidden number of scrapie affected holdings in great Britain using a simple, truncated count model allowing for heterogeneity. Journal of Agricultural Biological and Environmental Statistics, 13 (1). pp. 1-22. ISSN 1085-7117

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1198/108571108x277904


None of the current surveillance streams monitoring the presence of scrapie in Great Britain provide a comprehensive and unbiased estimate of the prevalence of the disease at the holding level. Previous work to estimate the under-ascertainment adjusted prevalence of scrapie in Great Britain applied multiple-list capture-recapture methods. The enforcement of new control measures on scrapie-affected holdings in 2004 has stopped the overlapping between surveillance sources and, hence, the application of multiple-list capture-recapture models. Alternative methods, still under the capture-recapture methodology, relying on repeated entries in one single list have been suggested in these situations. In this article, we apply one-list capture-recapture approaches to data held on the Scrapie Notifications Database to estimate the undetected population of scrapie-affected holdings with clinical disease in Great Britain for the years 2002, 2003, and 2004. For doing so, we develop a new diagnostic tool for indication of heterogeneity as well as a new understanding of the Zelterman and Chao's lower bound estimators to account for potential unobserved heterogeneity. We demonstrate that the Zelterman estimator can be viewed as a maximum likelihood estimator for a special, locally truncated Poisson likelihood equivalent to a binomial likelihood. This understanding allows the extension of the Zelterman approach by means of logistic regression to include observed heterogeneity in the form of covariates-in case studied here, the holding size and country of origin. Our results confirm the presence of substantial unobserved heterogeneity supporting the application of our two estimators. The total scrapie-affected holding population in Great Britain is around 300 holdings per year. None of the covariates appear to inform the model significantly.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Mathematics and Statistics > Applied Statistics
ID Code:9756
Uncontrolled Keywords:capture-recapture, chao estimator and bounds, Zelterman estimator, CAPTURE-RECAPTURE ESTIMATION, POPULATION-SIZE, PRION PROTEIN, SHEEP, SURVEILLANCE, BSE, DISTRIBUTIONS, TRANSMISSION

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