I would like to draw your attention to a special topic that is published in this issue of the Journal of Swine Health and Production (JSHAP). The special topic article presents a newly developed STROBE-Vet statement. As described in the article, “STROBE” is an acronym that stands for “Strengthening the Reporting of OBservational studies in Epidemiology” and hence represents a guideline document for reporting on observational research. The STROBE statement has existed for some time now for research related to human medicine, but it has also been modified to suit other areas of research. The STROBE-Vet recommendations presented here represent the hard work of many co-authors. They have worked through the STROBE recommendations to reach a consensus on each STROBE item in order to present a STROBE document specific to veterinary medicine. The authors also describe, very nicely, how consensus was reached for each of the items discussed and (or) how modification recommendations were agreed upon. Hence, this consensus document has been put forward to help strengthen the reporting of observational trials in veterinary epidemiology, and I would like to thank the authors for the dedication and hard work that they committed to this initiative. I am very pleased to say that, in order to encourage the broad dissemination and sharing of this statement, JSHAP is one of five journals that are simultaneously publishing this article. This statement can also be found in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Journal of Food Protection, Preventive Veterinary Medicine, and Zoonosis and Public Health. This is not the first time JSHAP has published a document of this type. Previously, JSHAP (along with other journals), has published the REFLECT statetment.1 REFLECT stands for Reporting Guidelines for Randomized Controlled Trials, and the authors of this article modified the statement to address issues for livestock trials.
How does such an article impact swine practice today? Well, it may not have an immediate applied action that a practitioner can take to the barn today. But it does positively impact veterinary practice significantly. Practitioners, as well as all of those involved in conducting veterinary research in general, can refer to both the STROBE-Vet and REFLECT statements when designing trials, interpreting results, and presenting or interpreting important implications. This all has a direct impact on how a practitioner can or would make any on-farm recommendations based on such research.
There is also a supporting document, the Explanation and Elaboration document.2,3 Due to the length of the Explanation and Elaboration document, JSHAP will not be publishing this sister article. However, it is available, and I encourage all of you who conduct research, interpret research results, and (or) apply such results on-farm to read the sister article as well.
I will leave you to enjoy this issue of JSHAP. Happy reading.
1. O’Connor AM, Sargeant JM, Gardner IA, et al. The REFLECT statement: Methods and processes of creating reporting guidelines for randomized controlled trials for livestock and food safety. J Swine Health Prod. 2010;18(1):18–26.
2. O’Connor AM, Sargeant JM, Dohoo IR, et al. Explanation and Elaboration Document for the STROBE-Vet statement: Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology – Veterinary extension. J Vet Intern Med. In press.
3. O’Connor AM, Sargeant JM, Dohoo IR, et al. Explanation and Elaboration Document for the STROBE-Vet statement: Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology – Veterinary extension. Zoonosis Public Health. In press.
Terri O’Sullivan, DVM, PhD