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Business affiliation could increase potential risk of farm-to-farm transmission of avian influenza
Date:3/29/2010

through the poultry farm-dense region.

Overall, the study found company affiliation to be the greatest driver of farm-to-farm disease transmission risk. In the analysis, employment of part-time workers also contributed to significant increases in risk in most scenarios, most notably for farms that hired day laborers. Social visits to farms were significantly less of a factor in determining risk.

"H5N1 has never been detected in the U.S., but the absence of the disease does not in and of itself prove that current biosecurity measures have been effective," added Leibler. "Low pathogenic avian influenza is detected frequently in U.S. poultry."

"The economic structure of the poultry industry, specifically integrator-level groups and business practices, may be critically important in estimating the risk of outbreak in areas dominated by industrial-scale animal production," said Ellen Silbergeld, PhD, senior author of study and a professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Environmental Health Sciences. "Models that focus solely on distance among farms as the primary risk factor for disease transmission may not capture the full dynamics of disease spread in settings where production is dominated by vertically integrated industrial food animal production methods."


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Contact: Tim Parsons
tmparson@jhsph.edu
410-955-7619
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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