Evaluation of strategies using simulation model to control a potential outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza among poultry farms in Central Luzon, Philippines.

Salvador, R and Tanquilut, N and Macmac, R and Na Lampang, K and Chaisowwong, W and Pfeiffer, D and Punyapornwithaya, V (2020) Evaluation of strategies using simulation model to control a potential outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza among poultry farms in Central Luzon, Philippines. PloS one, 15 (9). e0238815. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

The Philippines confirmed its first epidemic of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) on August 11, 2017. It ended in November of 2017. Despite the successful management of the epidemic, reemergence is a continuous threat. The aim of this study was to conduct a mathematical model to assess the spatial transmission of HPAI among poultry farms in Central Luzon. Different control strategies and the current government protocol of 1 km radius pre-emptive culling (PEC) from infected farms were evaluated. The alternative strategies include 0.5km PEC, 1.5km PEC, 2 km PEC, 2.5 km PEC, and 3 km PEC, no pre-emptive culling (NPEC). The NPEC scenario was further modeled with a time of government notification set at 24hours, 48 hours, and 72 hours after the detection. Disease spread scenarios under each strategy were generated using an SEIR (susceptible-exposed-infectious-removed) stochastic model. A spatial transmission kernel was calculated and used to represent all potential routes of infection between farms. We assumed that the latent period occurs between 1-2 days, disease detection at 5-7 days post-infection, notification of authorities at 5-7 days post-detection and start of culling at 1-3 days post notification. The epidemic scenarios were compared based on the number of infected farms, the total number of culled farms, and the duration of the epidemic. Our results revealed that the current protocol is the most appropriate option compared with the other alternative interventions considered among farms with reproductive ratio (Ri) > 1. Shortening the culling radius to 0.5 km increased the duration of the epidemic. Further increase in the PEC zone decreased the duration of the epidemic but may not justify the increased number of farms to be culled. Nonetheless, the no-pre-emptive culling (NPEC) strategy can be an effective alternative to the current protocol if farm managers inform the government immediately within 24 hours of observation of the presence of HPAI in their farms. Moreover, if notification is made on days 1-3 after the detection, the scale and length of the outbreak have been significantly reduced. In conclusion, this study provided a comparison of various control measures for confronting the spread of HPAI infection using the simulation model. Policy makers can use this information to enhance the effectiveness of the current control strategy.

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