Tang H, Fournié G, Li J, Zou L, Jianshen C, Wang Y. Analysis of the movement of live broilers in Guangxi, China and implications for avian influenza control. Transbound Emerg Dis. 2021 Oct 24
Most Chinese provinces have a daily-updated database of live animal movements; however, the data are not efficiently utilised to support interventions to control H7N9 and other avian influenzas. Based on official records, this study assessed the spatio-temporal patterns of live broilers moved out of and within Guangxi in 2017. The yearly and monthly networks were analysed for inter- and intra-provincial movements, respectively. Approximately 200,000 movements occurred in 2017, involving the transport of 200 million live broilers from Guangxi. Although Guangxi exported to 24 out of 32 provinces of China, 95% of inter-provincial movements occurred with three bordering provinces. Within Guangxi, counties were highly connected through the live broiler movements, creating conditions for rapid virus spreading throughout the province. Interestingly, a peak in movements during the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations, late January in 2017, was not observed in this study, likely due to H7N9-related control measures constraining live bird trading. Both intra- and inter-provincial movements in March 2017 were significantly higher than in other months of that year, suggesting that dramatic price changes may influence the movement´s network and reshape the risk pathways. However, despite these variations, the same small proportion of counties (less than 20%) exporting/importing more than 90% of inter- and intra- provincial movements remain the same throughout the year. Interventions, particularly surveillance and improving biosecurity, targeted to those counties are thus likely to be more effective for avian influenza risk mitigation than implemented indiscriminately. Additionally, simulations further demonstrated that targeting counties according to their degree or betweenness in the movement network would be the most efficient way to limit disease transmission via broiler movements. The study findings provide evidence to support the design of risk-based control interventions for H7N9 and all other avian influenza viruses in broiler value chains in Guangxi.
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