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Poult Sci. 2009 Apr;88(4):856-9. doi: 10.3382/ps.2008-00338.

Are live bird markets reservoirs of avian influenza?

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  • 1Department of Population Health and Reproduction, Veterinary Medicine Extension, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


Live bird markets (LBM) are essential for marketing poultry in many developing countries, and they are a preferred place for many people to purchase poultry for consumption throughout the world. Live bird markets are typically urban and have a permanent structure in which birds can be housed until they are sold. Live bird markets bring together a mixture of bird species that meet the preferences of their customers and that are commonly produced by multiple suppliers. The mixture of species, the lack of all-in-all-out management, and multiple suppliers are all features that make LBM potential sources of avian influenza viruses (AIV), especially for their supply flocks. Live bird markets have been linked to many outbreaks of avian influenza internationally and in the United States. Avian influenza virus is endemic in many, but not all, LBM systems. For instance, AIV has not been isolated from the Southern California LBM system since December 2005, although the risk of new introductions remains. The California LBM system is much smaller than the New York system, handles fewer birds, and has fewer bird suppliers, which, combined with recent avian influenza prevention and control plans, have enabled it to be AIV free for nearly 3 yr.

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