Key strategies for reducing spread of avian influenza among commercial poultry holdings: Lessons for transmission to humans

Arnaud Le Menach, Elisabeta Vergu, Rebecca F. Grais, David L. Smith, Antoine Flahault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Recent avian flu epidemics (A/H5N1) in Southeast Asia and case reports from around the world have led to fears of a human pandemic. Control of these outbreaks in birds would probably lead to reduced transmission of the avian virus to humans. This study presents a mathematical model based on stochastic farm-to-farm transmission that incorporates flock size and spatial contacts to evaluate the impact of control strategies. Fit to data from the recent epidemic in the Netherlands, we evaluate the efficacy of control strategies and forecast avian influenza dynamics. Our results identify high-risk areas of spread by mapping of the farm level reproductive number. Results suggest that an immediate depopulation of infected flocks following an accurate and quick diagnosis would have a greater impact than simply depopulating surrounding flocks. Understanding the relative importance of different control measures is essential for response planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2467-2475
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1600
StatePublished - Oct 7 2006



  • Avian influenza
  • Epidemiology
  • Mathematical model
  • Netherlands
  • Prevention and control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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