Small-scale disinfections can stem avian flu in Asia
Researchers examining how the live bird market in Asia helps spread the H5N1 avian flu have uncovered strategies that may help control future epidemics.
In Asia, live bird markets provide a major transmission pathway for H5N1, and although vaccinations, animal culling, and movement restrictions can combat the spread of the disease, these expensive strategies are not realistic in resource-poor settings dominated by smallholder poultry farmers.
To find appropriate interventions, Guillaume Fournié and colleagues interviewed live poultry traders in northern Vietnam to clarify how the live bird market helps spread H5N1, and then constructed contact networks and a disease transmission model based on the movements of the traders.
The authors determined that the live bird market constitutes a highly interconnected network that can support large-scale disease transmission both within the network and potentially across network boundaries to uninfected regions. However, the authors report, simple interventions such as daily disinfections of the market environment, traders' vehicles, and equipment in a small number of targeted hubs disrupts the network and may prevent the spread of the disease.
The findings might help guide policy in resource-poor settings where the live bird market network is well developed, according to the authors.
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