Participatory disease searching

Participatory disease searching (PDS) evolved during the global programme to eradicate rinderpest, and was useful approach for locating the last cases of clinical disease in resource-poor or conflict-affected areas. PDS was really a hunt for disease using participatory methods to capture local knowledge. It was an inductive approach whereby clues from one area or informant led the PDS team to other areas where rinderpest might be present. Suspected cases of rinderpest were sampled, and good laboratory support is an important aspect of the process.

PDS-type approaches have been adapted for use in surveillance systems for other diseases, notably highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Here, the results are open to question, as are the use of "participatory surveillance" systems which focus on diseases which may not be priorities for livestock keepers. 

Useful references

Catley, A., Alders, R.G., Wood, J.L.N (2012). Participatory epidemiology: approaches, methods, experiences. The Veterinary Journal 191, 151-160. Reprints from 

Mariner, J.C. and Roeder, P.L. (2003). Use of participatory epidemiology in studies of the persistence of lineage 2 rinderpest virus in east Africa. Veterinary Record, 152, 641-647. Reprints from

Mariner, J.C., Manzoor Hussain, Roeder, P.L., and Catley, A. (2003). The use of participatory disease searching in Pakistan as a form of active disease surveillance for rinderpest and more. Xth Symposium of the International Society of Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics, November, 2003, Santiago, Chile. download PDF file (file size 69KB)