Keawcharoen, J.; van den Broek, J.; Bouma, A.; Tiensin, T.; Osterhaus, A.D.; Heesterbeek, H.
U.S. National Center for Infectious Diseases
Since the outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N1 virus, wild birds have been suspected of transmitting this virus to poultry. On January 23, 2004, the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand informed the World Health Organization of an avian infl uenza A (H5N1) outbreak. To determine the epidemiology of this viral infection and its relation to poultry outbreaks in Thailand from 2004 through 2007, we investigated how wild birds play a role in transmission. A total of 24,712 serum samples were collected from migratory and resident wild birds. Reverse transcription PCR showed a 0.7% HPAI (H5N1) prevalence. The highest prevalence was observed during January–February 2004 and March–June 2004, predominantly in central Thailand, which harbors most of the country’s poultry flocks. Analysis of the relationship between poultry and wild bird outbreaks was done by using a nonhomogeneous birth and death statistical model. Transmission efficiency among poultry flocks was 1.7× higher in regions with infected wild birds in the given or preceding month. The joint presence of wild birds and poultry is associated with increased spread among poultry flocks.