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Using simulation techniques to investigate methods to determine resistance of helminths to anthelmintic treatment

Pepper, P.M., Swain, A.J. and Lyndal-Murphy, M. (2003) Using simulation techniques to investigate methods to determine resistance of helminths to anthelmintic treatment. In: Modsim 2003 International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, 14-17 July, Townsville, Queensland.


Organisation URL: http://mssanz.org.au


The widespread and increasing resistance of internal parasites to anthelmintic control is a serious problem for the Australian sheep and wool industry. As part of control programmes, laboratories use the Faecal Egg Count Reduction Test (FECRT) to determine resistance to anthelmintics. It is important to have confidence in the measure of resistance, not only for the producer planning a drenching programme but also for companies investigating the efficacy of their products. The determination of resistance and corresponding confidence limits as given in anthelmintic efficacy guidelines of the Standing Committee on Agriculture (SCA) is based on a number of assumptions.

This study evaluated the appropriateness of these assumptions for typical data and compared the effectiveness of the standard FECRT procedure with the effectiveness of alternative procedures. Several sets of historical experimental data from sheep and goats were analysed to determine that a negative binomial distribution was a more appropriate distribution to describe pre-treatment helminth egg counts in faeces than a normal distribution. Simulated egg counts for control animals were generated stochastically from negative binomial distributions and those for treated animals from negative binomial and binomial distributions.

Three methods for determining resistance when percent reduction is based on arithmetic means were applied. The first was that advocated in the SCA guidelines, the second similar to the first but basing the variance estimates on negative binomial distributions, and the third using Wadley’s method with the distribution of the response variate assumed negative binomial and a logit link transformation. These were also compared with a fourth method recommended by the International Co-operation on Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Registration of Veterinary Medicinal Products (VICH) programme, in which percent reduction is based on the geometric means. A wide selection of parameters was investigated and for each set 1000 simulations run. Percent reduction and confidence limits were then calculated for the methods, together with the number of times in each set of 1000 simulations the theoretical percent reduction fell within the estimated confidence limits and the number of times resistance would have been said to occur. These simulations provide the basis for setting conditions under which the methods could be recommended.

The authors show that given the distribution of helminth egg counts found in Queensland flocks, the method based on arithmetic not geometric means should be used and suggest that resistance be redefined as occurring when the upper level of percent reduction is less than 95%. At least ten animals per group are required in most circumstances, though even 20 may be insufficient where effectiveness of the product is close to the cut off point for defining resistance.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission from © Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand, [MSSANZ] MODSIM is the biennial conference of the Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand. Organised and sponsored by the Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand (MSSANZ), CSIRO Land and Water and James Cook University.
Keywords:Resistance; Anthelmintic control; Simulation.
Subjects:Animal culture > Sheep > Wool production
Live Archive:15 Mar 2005
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:47

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