Spatial transmission of H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza between Minnesota poultry premises during the 2015 outbreak

Bonney, Peter J.; Malladi, Sasidhar; Boender, Gert Jan; Weaver, J.T.; Ssematimba, Amos; Halvorson, David A.; Cardona, Carol J.


The spatial spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N2 during the 2015 outbreak in the U.S. state of Minnesota was analyzed through the estimation of a spatial transmission kernel, which quantifies the infection hazard an infectious premises poses to an uninfected premises some given distance away. Parameters were estimated using a maximum likelihood method for the entire outbreak as well as for two phases defined by the daily number of newly detected HPAI-positive premises. The results indicate both a strong dependence of the likelihood of transmission on distance and a significant distance-independent component of outbreak spread for the overall outbreak. The results further suggest that HPAI spread differed during the later phase of the outbreak. The estimated spatial transmission kernel was used to compare the Minnesota outbreak with previous HPAI outbreaks in the Netherlands and Italy to contextualize the Minnesota transmission kernel results and make additional inferences about HPAI transmission during the Minnesota outbreak. Lastly, the spatial transmission kernel was used to identify high risk areas for HPAI spread in Minnesota. Risk maps were also used to evaluate the potential impact of an early marketing strategy implemented by poultry producers in a county in Minnesota during the outbreak, with results providing evidence that the strategy was successful in reducing the potential for HPAI spread.