A metapopulation model for highly pathogenic avian influenza: implications for compartmentalization as a control measure

Nickbakhsh, S and Matthews, L and Reid, S W J and Kao, R R (2014) A metapopulation model for highly pathogenic avian influenza: implications for compartmentalization as a control measure. EPIDEMIOLOGY AND INFECTION, 142 (9). pp. 1813-1825.

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Abstract

Although the compartmentalization of poultry industry components has substantial economic implications, and is therefore a concept with huge significance to poultry industries worldwide, the current requirements for compartment status are generic to all OIE member countries. We examined the consequences for potential outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in the British poultry industry using a metapopulation modelling framework. This framework was used to assess the effectiveness of compartmentalization relative to zoning control, utilizing empirical data to inform the structure of potential epidemiological contacts within the British poultry industry via network links and spatial proximity. Conditions were identified where, despite the efficient isolation of poultry compartments through the removal of network-mediated links, spatially mediated airborne spread enabled spillover of infection with nearby premises making compartmentalization a more ‘risky’ option than zoning control. However, when zoning control did not effectively inhibit long-distance network links, compartmentalization became a relatively more effective control measure than zoning. With better knowledge of likely distance ranges for airborne spread, our approach could help define an appropriate minimum inter-farm distance to provide more specific guidelines for compartmentalization in Great Britain.