Implications of within-farm transmission for network dynamics: consequences for the spread of avian influenza

Nickbakhsh, S. , Matthews, L. , Dent, J.E., Innocent, G.T., Arnold, M.E., Reid, S.W.J. and Kao, R.R. (2013) Implications of within-farm transmission for network dynamics: consequences for the spread of avian influenza. Epidemics, 5(2), pp. 67-76. (doi: 10.1016/j.epidem.2013.03.001)

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The importance of considering coupled interactions across multiple population scales has not previously been studied for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the British commercial poultry industry. By simulating the within-flock transmission of HPAI using a deterministic S-E-I-R model, and by incorporating an additional environmental class representing infectious faeces, we tracked the build-up of infectious faeces within a poultry house over time. A measure of the transmission risk (TR) was computed for each farm by linking the amount of infectious faeces present each day of an outbreak with data describing the daily on-farm visit schedules for a major British catching company. Larger flocks tended to have greater levels of these catching-team visits. However, where density-dependent contact was assumed, faster outbreak detection (according to an assumed mortality threshold) led to a decreased opportunity for catching-team visits to coincide with an outbreak. For this reason, maximum TR-levels were found for mid-range flock sizes (~25,000–35,000 birds). When assessing all factors simultaneously using multivariable linear regression on the simulated outputs, those related to the pattern of catching-team visits had the largest effect on TR, with the most important movement-related factor depending on the mode of transmission. Using social network analysis on a further database to inform a measure of between-farm connectivity, we identified a large fraction of farms (28%) that had both a high TR and a high potential impact at the between farm level. Our results have counter-intuitive implications for between-farm spread that could not be predicted based on flock size alone, and together with further knowledge of the relative importance of transmission risk and impact, could have implications for improved targeting of control measures.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kao, Professor Rowland and Innocent, Dr Giles and Nickbakhsh, Dr Sema and Matthews, Professor Louise and Reid, Professor Stuart
Authors: Nickbakhsh, S., Matthews, L., Dent, J.E., Innocent, G.T., Arnold, M.E., Reid, S.W.J., and Kao, R.R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Epidemics

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