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Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Develop a Surveillance Plan: Sampling Plan - Sampling Priorities

The Sampling Priorities section describes the priorities for surveillance sampling in situations where resources, including personnel, are limited.

What to Include

The sampling priorities section should describe the order of importance or urgency for sampling particular premises and animals.

Action Items

Determine the appropriate sampling frequency using the guidelines below.

Write the Sampling Plan - Sampling Priorities section of the surveillance plan - Open your draft surveillance plan and modify the Sampling Plan - Sampling Frequency content.  Click here to preview the template content in your browser.

More About Sampling Priorities


If resources, including personnel, are limited, begin sampling those premises in disease control zones most distant from the Control Area and work inwards towards the center of the Infected Zone.


On any premises where the total number of animals selected for sampling is less than the total number of animals on the premises, selection of animals should proceed in the following order:

Priority category 1: Sick and dead animals. All animals on the premises should be visually examined; any that appear ill or lethargic should be sampled.
Priority category 2: Newly introduced animals. If there are animals present from multiple owners on the same premises, be sure to obtain samples from some of the animals originating from these sources.
Priority category 3: Healthy appearing animals.
Other priority categories may arise that will be advantageous to sample
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