BMC Vet Res. 2011 Oct 13;7(1):59. [Epub ahead of print]
The potential spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus via dynamic contacts between poultry premises in Great Britain.
Dent JE, Kiss IZ, Kao RR, Arnold M.


Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses have had devastating effects on poultry industries worldwide, and there is concern about the potential for HPAI outbreaks in the poultry industry in Great Britain (GB). Critical to the potential for HPAI to spread between poultry premises are the connections made between farms by movements related to human activity. Movement records of catching teams and slaughterhouse vehicles were obtained from a large catching company, and this data was used in a simulation model of HPAI spread between farms serviced by the catching company, and surrounding (geographic) areas. The spread of HPAI through real-time movements was modelled, with the addition of spread via company personnel and local transmission.

The model predicted that although large outbreaks are rare, they may occur, with long distances between infected premises. Final outbreak size was most sensitive to the probability of spread via slaughterhouse-linked movements whereas the probability of onward spread beyond an index premises was most sensitive to the frequency of company personnel movements.

Results obtained from this study suggest that it is unlikely that catching team movements pose a serious risk factor for a large epidemic of HPAI in GB. However, the ability of the virus to jump from the network of farms, for which movement data were available, to other networks of different farms, highlights the importance of retaining up-to-date data on poultry premises so that control measures can be effectively prioritised in an outbreak situation.

[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

Results obtained from this study show that, whilst there is the possibility that HPAI virus will jump from one cluster of farms to another, movements made by catching teams connected fewer poultry premises in an outbreak situation than slaughterhouses and company personnel. The potential connection …