Confined animal feeding operations as amplifiers of influenza.

Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases (Impact Factor: 2.53). 02/2006; 6(4):338-46. DOI: 10.1089/vbz.2006.6.338
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Influenza pandemics occur when a novel influenza strain, often of animal origin, becomes transmissible between humans. Domestic animal species such as poultry or swine in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) could serve as local amplifiers for such a new strain of influenza. A mathematical model is used to examine the transmission dynamics of a new influenza virus among three sequentially linked populations: the CAFO species, the CAFO workers (the bridging population), and the rest of the local human population. Using parameters based on swine data, simulations showed that when CAFO workers comprised 15-45% of the community, human influenza cases increased by 42-86%. Successful vaccination of at least 50% of CAFO workers cancelled the amplification. A human influenza epidemic due to a new virus could be locally amplified by the presence of confined animal feeding operations in the community. Thus vaccination of CAFO workers would be an effective use of a pandemic vaccine.

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