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The Impact of Environmental Transmission and Epidemiological Features on the Geographical Translocation of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus.

Abstract

The factors affecting the transmission and geographic translocation of avian influenza viruses (AIVs) within wild migratory bird populations remain inadequately understood. In a previous study, we found that environmental transmission had little impact on AIV translocation in a model of a single migratory bird population. In order to simulate virus transmission and translocation more realistically, here we expanded this model system to include two migratory bird flocks. We simulated AIV transmission and translocation while varying four core properties: 1) Contact transmission rate; 2) infection recovery rate; 3) infection-induced mortality rate; and 4) migration recovery rate; and three environmental transmission properties: 1) Virion persistence; 2) exposure rate; and 3) re-scaled environmental infectiousness; as well as the time lag in the migration schedule of the two flocks. We found that environmental exposure rate had a significant impact on virus translocation in the two-flock model. Further, certain epidemiological features (i.e., low infection recovery rate, low mortality rate, and high migration transmission rate) in both flocks strongly affected the likelihood of virus translocation. Our results further identified the pathobiological features supporting AIV intercontinental dissemination risk.

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