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Avian influenza H5N1 viral and bird migration networks in Asia

Tian, Huaiyu, Zhou, Sen, Dong, Lu, Van Boeckel, Thomas P., Cui, Yujun, Wu, Yarong, Cazelles, Bernard, Huang, Shanqian, Yang, Ruifu, Grenfell, Bryan T., Xu, Bing
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2015 v.112 no.1 pp. 172-177
Influenza A virus, avian influenza, financial economics, migratory behavior, migratory birds, poultry, satellites, seasonal variation, virus transmission, Asia
The spatial spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 and its long-term persistence in Asia have resulted in avian influenza panzootics and enormous economic losses in the poultry sector. However, an understanding of the regional long-distance transmission and seasonal patterns of the virus is still lacking. In this study, we present a phylogeographic approach to reconstruct the viral migration network. We show that within each wild fowl migratory flyway, the timing of H5N1 outbreaks and viral migrations are closely associated, but little viral transmission was observed between the flyways. The bird migration network is shown to better reflect the observed viral gene sequence data than other networks and contributes to seasonal H5N1 epidemics in local regions and its large-scale transmission along flyways. These findings have potentially far-reaching consequences, improving our understanding of how bird migration drives the periodic reemergence of H5N1 in Asia.