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Modeling the rapid spread of avian influenza (H5N1) in India

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  • Controlling the spread of avian bird flu has become a challenging tasks for Indian agriculture and health administrators. After the first evidence and control of the virus in 2006, the virus attacked five states by January 2008. Based on the evidence of rapid spread of the avian bird flu type H5N1 among the Indian states of Maharashtra, Manipur, andWest Bengal, and in the partially affected states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, a model is developed to understand the spread of the virus among birds and the effect of control measures on the dynamics of its spread. We predict that, in the absence of control measures, the total number of infected birds in West Bengal within ten and twenty days after initial discovery of infection were 780,000 and 2.1 million, respectively. When interventions are introduced, these values would have ranged from 65,000 to 225,000 after ten days and from 16,000 to 190,000 after twenty days. We show that the farm and market birds constitute the major proportion of total infected birds, followed by domestic birds and wild birds in West Bengal, where a severe epidemic hit recently. Culling 600,000 birds in ten days might have reduced the current epidemic before it spread extensively. Further studies on appropriate transmission parameters, contact rates of birds, population sizes of poultry and farms are helpful for planning.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: 92D25, 62P10.


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