Syndrome reporting template

​Pu​​blication details​

Sub-Committee on Animal Health Laboratory Standards (SCAHLS), 2013

This document provides a template that can be used by laboratories to report syndromes detected or analysed for submission to the Sub-Committee on Animal Health Laboratory Standards (SCAHLS).




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Additional information

Recording structure

  1. The unit of reporting is a case, defined as a single outbreak of disease on a single premise. For ease of reporting, a case equates approximately with a laboratory accession. However, when repeated accessions relate to a single outbreak of disease, these numbers are reconciled (counted as one case – for in-depth investigations and new diseases only).
  2. The premise (farm, property, station, feedlot, lake, river, estuary, bay, pond) is identified to Shire (or local government area equivalent), Region and State/Territory in most laboratory information management systems. For reporting purposes, data is collated at the State/Territory level, but farm, local government or regional data is archived for retrospective explanations of statistical abnormalities.
  3. The animal species includes all recognised commercial livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, poultry, alpaca, buffalo, camel, deer, llama, emu, ostrich and rhea) plus all aquatic animals, leisure animals and wildlife (see below).
  4. The laboratory includes all veterinary diagnostic laboratories that are NATA accredited in the appropriate fields of veterinary testing, and approved or otherwise recognised as equivalent by the Chief Veterinary Officer of the region including government, private, university and CSIRO laboratories.
  5. The clinical syndromes for the purpose of reporting for all species are:

Terrestrial and/or Aquatic

  1. abortion/stillbirth
  2. acute fever
  3. anaemia/haemorrhage
  4. congenital/developmental anomalies
  5. diarrhoea
  6. found dead
  7. generalised oedema
  8. genital lesions
  9. ill thrift/weight loss/poor body condition
  10. infertility
  11. jaundice
  12. lameness/musculoskeletal signs
  13. lymphadenopathy
  14. nasal discharge
  15. nervous signs
  16. pruritis/flashing
  17. production drop/reduced harvest
  18. respiratory signs
  19. skin/external surface lesions
  20. sudden death
  21. weakness/depression
  22. no suitable syndrome
  23. no history available
  24. no detectable signs
  25. trauma
  26. gastrointestinal signs other than diarrhoea

Aquatic specific

  1. mass mortality

Fin fish specific

  1. ascites
  2. exophthalmia

Mollusc specific

  1. gaping
  2. retraction of gill margins
  3. excessive mucus production

Crustacean specific

  1. white midgut line
  2. opaque tail muscle

Note: When more than one clinical syndrome is present in any particular case, the predominant syndrome is used for recording purposes.

  1. Diagnostic categories are:
    1. Endemic (to Australia) disease confirmed
    2. New/unknown disease, cause undetermined
    3. New/unknown disease, cause determined
    4. No diagnosis—Single sample/inadequate samples/additional tests not sought
    5. No diagnosis—Adequate sampling but no abnormalities detected
    6. No diagnosis—Exotic disease exclude

  2. Purpose statement

    The Animal Syndrome Laboratory List aims to facilitate data collection for ongoing pattern and trend analysis. It may also facilitate the identification of the need for further laboratory investigation of disease cases that do not have a definitive laboratory diagnosis at the time when a normal investigational process is completed. To support this aim, the list provides a list of clinical signs or syndromes that have potential association with significant emergency animal diseases, for use by laboratory diagnosticians. It is not intended to serve as a comprehensive list for disease surveillance or other investigational purposes but complement the latter at much as possible.

  3. Explanatory notes and definitions

    The term "disease" includes infectious, parasitic, nutritional, metabolic, neoplastic, degenerative, toxic, inherited, developmental, traumatic, immunological and other recognised conditions (including those for which a disease process has not been defined).

    Endemic diseases: Those diseases generally recognised as endemic in some part of Australia. Syndrome reporting does not separately identify those endemic diseases which might occur outside of their areas of usual prevalence e.g. ovine liver fluke in Western Australia. This information is captured by NAHIS through other reporting avenues.

    New or unknown diseases for which a cause is undetermined: Refers to diseases not previously recognised in Australia, for which the aetiologic agent and pathogenesis are unknown.

    New or unknown diseases for which a cause is determined: Refers to diseases not previously recognised in Australia, for which the aetiologic agent and/or the pathogenesis is known. This category does not include those exotic diseases on Australia's notifiable disease list (this data is captured by NAHIS through other reporting avenues), but includes diseases recognised in other parts of the world that are diagnosed for the first time in Australia.

    No diagnosis – single sample/inadequate sample/additional tests sought. Refers to those cases where a diagnosis was not reached either because a single sample did not test positive for the suspected disease and no other tests were possible, the sample was inadequate for any reason (sample spoilage, incorrect sample for the suspected disease), or additional tests that might have yielded a diagnostic result were not sought or were declined by the submitter. This category attempts to identify those cases where diagnostic failure is largely beyond the control of the laboratory.

    No diagnosis – no abnormalities detected: Refers to those cases with adequate sample and test selection, but all laboratory tests conducted gave negative results. This category attempts to identify those cases where the sampling was adequate but the tests conducted were unsuccessful in achieving a diagnosis. The laboratory may therefore share some responsibility for the outcome.

    No diagnosis – exotic disease excluded: Refers to those cases for which one or more specific exotic diseases were excluded by laboratory testing, but for which no other diagnosis was necessarily sought or made. Example: wild birds for HPAI exclusion testing, but no other testing was conducted.

  4. Specific diagnostic outcomes

    Specific diagnoses are recorded for retrospective analysis and include endemic diseases and diseases exotic to the State/Territory of origin but present elsewhere in Australia. These data are not required to be reported, but may need to be accessed for retrospective explanations of statistical abnormalities.
    Note: when multiple diagnoses are made for any particular case, the primary disease is recorded for the purpose of syndrome reporting.

Reporting structure

1. Reporting Frequency

To National Animal Health Laboratory Strategy (Deliverable 1) annually on a financial year basis.

2. Reporting Format

For species, the following definitions apply:

  1. Dairy cattle
  2. Beef cattle (including buffalo)
  3. Sheep and Goats (farmed, feral and pet sheep and goats but NOT small ruminants kept in zoos)
  4. Horses (feral, pet, racing (performance) and leisure horses but NOT exotic equines kept in zoos)
  5. Pigs (farmed, feral and pet pigs)
  6. Poultry (farmed avians kept for meat and/or egg production including chickens, emu, ostrich rhea, ducks, quails, pheasants or other species but NOT avians kept for leisure purposes e.g. racing pigeons and show birds)
  7. Camelids (farmed, feral, pack, racing and pet camelids including camels, ;alpacas and llamas but NOT camelids kept in zoos)
  8. Leisure animals (domestic animals and birds kept for leisure animal purposes e.g. cats, dogs, ferrets, guinea pigs, (pet) rabbits, aviary (pet and show) birds, racing pigeons, fin fish (ornamental aquaria) but NOT cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs or camelids)
  9. Free-living wildlife (free living native and feral animals and birds but NOT feral cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, horses, pigs or camelids)
  10. Captive or farmed wildlife (native and exotic animals and birds kept in zoos and other collections, including farmed crocodiles, rabbits and deer, non-domestic pet cats (large and small) and pet reptiles, but NOT farmed avians (as above)
  11. Fin fish (commercial, farmed or wild)
  12. Molluscs
  13. Crustaceans
  14. Aquatic animal not otherwise listed

For location, the following category: state/territory.