Quantifying the spatial risk of avian influenza introduction into British poultry by wild birds
Author(s): Hill, A., Gillings, S., Berriman, A., Brouwer, A., Breed, A.C., Snow, L., Ashton, A., Byrne, C. & Irvine, R.M.
Published: December 2019
Journal: Scientific Reports Volume: 9
Article No.: 19973
Digital Identifier No. (DOI): 10.1038/s41598-019-56165-9
The transmission of pathogens across the interface between wildlife and livestock presents a challenge to the development of effective surveillance and control measures. Wild birds, especially waterbirds such as the Anseriformes and Charadriiformes are considered to be the natural hosts of avian influenza (AI), and are presumed to pose one of the most likely vectors for incursion of AI into European poultry flocks.
We have developed a generic quantitative risk map, derived from the classical epidemiological risk equation, to describe the relative, spatial risk of disease incursion into poultry flocks via wild birds. We then assessed the risk for AI incursion into British flocks. The risk map suggests that the majority of AI incursion risk is highly clustered within certain areas of Britain, including in the east, the south west and the coastal north-west of England.
The clustering of high risk areas concentrates total risk in a relatively small land area; the top 33% of cells contribute over 80% of total incursion risk. This suggests that targeted risk-based sampling in a relatively small geographical area could be a much more effective and cost-efficient approach than representative sampling. The generic nature of the risk map method, allows rapid updating and application to other diseases transmissible between wild birds and poultry.
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