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Migratory birds, domestic poultry and avian influenza
Date:4/5/2011

tion, the result is sustenance of the flu in migratory birds themselves. "It is amazing that our model, which starts from surprisingly simple assumptions, can predict when there will be an outbreak of the disease, and how limited data from the Chinese Poyang Lake region can be used to parametrize and validate the model," says Gourley.

Future research should be focused on finding tools that can predict peak disease times, according to the researchers. "Some of our computer simulations suggest that peak disease activity will not always occur in a regular predictable pattern," Gourley explains. "Irregular intervals from peak to peak pose significant challenges for future theoretical research. Tools that can estimate peak times will be important for designing effective surveillance and for planning intervention strategies."

In addition, integrating such research with data from international migratory bird surveillance and commercial poultry trade can shed more light on these interactions on a global scale. Many national and international organizations are involved in these efforts. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has been working in partnership with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UN FAO) to study the role of wild birds in the geographic spread of H5N1.

"It would be great to have more information about global surveillance of migratory birds and commercial poultry trading so that [our] model can be expanded to understand the disease spread along the network of migratory flyways and commercial trading," says Gourley. "This shows the importance of continuing and enhancing the current work of the UN FAO and the US Geological Survey."


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Contact: Karthika Muthukumaraswamy
karthika@siam.org
267-350-6383
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Source:Eurekalert

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