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Prev Vet Med. 2005 Jun 10;69(1-2):1-11. Epub 2005 Apr 25.

Risk factors for the introduction of high pathogenicity Avian Influenza virus into poultry farms during the epidemic in the Netherlands in 2003.

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Public Health and Food Safety Division, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, PO Box 80175, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.


An epidemic of high pathogenicity Avian Influenza (HPAI) occurred in the Netherlands in 2003. A census survey of 173 infected and 401 uninfected commercial poultry farms was carried out to identify factors associated with the introduction of the HPAI virus into poultry farms. Data on farm size, production characteristics, type of housing, presence of cattle and pigs were gathered by the National Inspection Service for Livestock and Meat from all farms included in this study. For each risk factor (RF) available for analysis, the Mantel-Haenszel odds ratio was calculated (stratified on farm size and housing type). We found an increased risk of HPAI virus introduction in layer finisher type poultry: OR = 2.05 (95% confidence interval, CI = 1.29-3.27). An explanation for this increased risk is the high number of contacts between these farms, especially via cardboard egg trays used for removal of eggs during the epidemic. Our analysis did not indicate significant differences between the infected and uninfected farms with regard to housing type, presence of cattle or pigs. Since layer finisher type farms are assumed to be at higher risk for HPAI virus introduction, more specific control measures might be applied in future outbreaks.

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