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PLoS One. 2018 Nov 28;13(11):e0207076. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0207076. eCollection 2018.

Risk of poultry compartments for transmission of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza.

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Wageningen Bioveterinary Research (WBVR), Lelystad, the Netherlands.
Wageningen Economic Research, Wageningen, the Netherlands.


When outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) occur in OIE member countries with until then disease-free status, member countries can use 'compartmentalisation'. A compartment may be defined as a subset of farms under a common management system, complying with certain stringent surveillance, control and biosecurity measures, and based on that may receive a disease-free status. Based on this disease-free status the compartment is exempted from certain transport restrictions coming into force in case of outbreaks occurring in the country. For deciding whether a candidate compartment is granted official compartment status, it is relevant to assess the additional HPAI transmission risks that would arise due to the exemptions granted. These risks consist of both additional local transmission risks as well as the additional risk of a 'jump' of HPAI infection from one poultry area, via the compartment, to another area. Here such risk assessment is carried out using a spatial mathematical model for between-farm transmission in the Netherlands, yielding insight in the roles of compartment composition and contact structure and identify relevant evaluation criteria for granting HPAI compartment status. At the core of this model are transmission probabilities associated with indirect between-farm contacts, e.g. through feed delivery, egg collection and professional visitors. These probabilities were estimated from Dutch epidemic outbreak data in earlier work. The additional risk of a jump of HPAI from one area, via the compartment, to another area is calculated relative to the direct jump risk. The results show that additional transmission risks caused by a compartment to other farms are mainly dependent on the distance of densely populated poultry areas (DPPAs) to the nearest compartment farm. Apart from conditions on these distances, we also recommend specific routing requirements for transport and other movements within the compartment.

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Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competeing interests exist.

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