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18 Nov 2012

Live Poultry Trade in Southern China Provinces and HPAIV H5N1 Infection in Humans and Poultry: The Role of Chinese New Year Festivities (PLoS ONE, abstract, edited)

[Source: PLoS ONE, full text: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Live Poultry Trade in Southern China Provinces and HPAIV H5N1 Infection in Humans and Poultry: The Role of Chinese New Year Festivities

Ricardo J. Soares Magalhães1*, Xiaoyan Zhou2, Beibei Jia2,3, Fusheng Guo2, Dirk U. Pfeiffer4, Vincent Martin2

1 University of Queensland, School of Population Health, Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, Brisbane, Australia, 2 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO HPAI H5N1 Programme in China, Beijing, China, 3 University of Prince Edward Island, Atlantic Veterinary College, Department of Health Management, Charlottetown, Canada, 4 University of London, The Royal Veterinary College, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health Group, London, United Kingdom




The number of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of the H5N1 subtype (HPAIV H5N1) over the past 5 years has been drastically reduced in China but sporadic infections in poultry and humans are still occurring. In this study, we aimed to investigate seasonal patterns in the association between the movement of live poultry originating from southern China and HPAIV H5N1 infection history in humans and poultry in China.

Methodology/Principal Findings

During January to April 2010, longitudinal questionnaire surveys were carried out monthly in four wholesale live bird markets (LBMs) in Hunan and Guangxi provinces of South China. Using social network analysis, we found an increase in the number of observed links and degree centrality between LBMs and poultry sources in February and March compared to the months of January and April. The association of some live poultry traders (LPT’s) with a limited set of counties (within the catchment area of LBMs) in the months of February and March may support HPAIV H5N1 transmission and contribute to perpetuating HPAIV H5N1 virus circulation among certain groups of counties. The connectivity among counties experiencing human infection was significantly higher compared to counties without human infection for the months of January, March and April. Conversely, counties with poultry infections were found to be significantly less connected than counties without poultry infection for the month of February.


Our results show that temporal variation in live poultry trade in Southern China around the Chinese New Year festivities is associated with higher HPAIV H5N1 infection risk in humans and poultry. This study has shown that capturing the dynamic nature of poultry trade networks in Southern China improves our ability to explain the spatiotemporal dissemination in avian influenza viruses in China.


Citation: Soares Magalhães RJ, Zhou X, Jia B, Guo F, Pfeiffer DU, et al. (2012) Live Poultry Trade in Southern China Provinces and HPAIV H5N1 Infection in Humans and Poultry: The Role of Chinese New Year Festivities. PLoS ONE 7(11): e49712. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049712

Editor: Hiroshi Nishiura, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Received: May 8, 2012; Accepted: October 11, 2012; Published: November 16, 2012

Copyright: © 2012 Soares Magalhães et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: This study was supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization and funded by the United Nations and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal diseases (ECTAD) office in China [project code OSRO/RAS/604/USA (Phases III and IV)]. RJSM is supported by a UQ Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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