Epidemiology and Infection

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Epidemiology and Infection (2010), 138:192-198 Cambridge University Press
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

Short Report


Lessons from Nigeria: the role of roads in the geo-temporal progression of avian influenza (H5N1) virus

A. L. RIVASa1a2 c1, G. CHOWELLa3a4, S. J. SCHWAGERa2, F. O. FASINAa5a6, A. L. HOOGESTEIJNa7, S. D. SMITHa2, S. P. R. BISSCHOPa6, K. L. ANDERSONa1 and J. M. HYMANa8

a1 Population Health and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
a2 Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, and Institute for Resource Information Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
a3 School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
a4 Division of Epidemiology and Population Studies, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
a5 National Veterinary Research Institute, PMB 01, Vom, Plateau, Nigeria
a6 Poultry Reference Centre, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
a7 Human Ecology, CINVESTAV, Mérida, México
a8 Mathematical Modeling and Analysis, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA
Article author query
rivas al [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
chowell g [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
schwager sj [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
fasina fo [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
hoogesteijn al [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
smith sd [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
bisschop spr [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
anderson kl [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]
hyman jm [PubMed]  [Google Scholar]


The daily progression of the 2006 (January–June) Nigerian avian influenza (AI H5N1) epidemic was assessed in relation to both spatial variables and the generation interval of the invading virus. Proximity to the highway network appeared to promote epidemic dispersal: from the first AI generation interval onwards >20% of all cases were located at <5 km from the nearest major road. Fifty-seven per cent of all cases were located xs2A7D31 km from three highway intersections. Findings suggest that the spatial features of emerging infections could be key in their control. When the spatial location of a transmission factor is well known, such as that of the highway network, and a substantial percentage of cases (e.g. >20%) are near that factor, early interventions focusing on transmission factors, such as road blocks that prevent poultry trade, may be more efficacious than interventions applied only to the susceptible population.

(Accepted July 01 2009)

(Online publication August 05 2009)

Key Words:Avian flu; emerging infections; geographical information systems; surveillance


c1 Author for correspondence: Dr A. L. Rivas, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC, USA. (Email: [email protected] or [email protected])