A large amount of animal health data is collected, but this is generally to satisfy specific purposes, such as determining the prevalence of a disease within a target species. Organizations that use animal health data include farming enterprises, processors (such as abattoirs), farming service providers (such as veterinarians), pharmaceutical companies, and state and federal departments of agriculture. Organizations that use domestic animal health data include individual veterinary hospitals, veterinary wholesalers, and pharmaceutical companies. Personnel working in resource management, wildlife and fisheries, zoos, aquariums, and agriculture and human health have call to use wildlife data. The USDA collects information on animal health when it is a threat to agriculture. The Department of Health will collect animal health data when it is of significance to human health (e.g., salmonella, WNV vector data).
As a result of the multitude of organizations involved with collecting data and the multiple reasons for the collection of data, there exists duplication of data collection concurrent with deficiencies in data collection, little sharing of data between organizations, and therefore little secondary use of data. The development of overarching policies to guide the collection, format, sharing and analysis of all disease data is necessary to maximize information gain.
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