, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 109-119

First online:

Risks of Avian Influenza Transmission in Areas of Intensive Free-Ranging Duck Production with Wild Waterfowl

  • Julien CappelleAffiliated withCIRAD-ES, UR AGIRsDepartment of Botany and Microbiology, Center for Spatial Analysis, University of OklahomaEpidemiology and Public Health Unit, Institut Pasteur du Cambodge Email author 
  • , Delong ZhaoAffiliated withDepartment of Botany and Microbiology, Center for Spatial Analysis, University of Oklahoma
  • , Marius GilbertAffiliated withBiological Control and Spatial Ecology, Université Libre de BruxellesFonds National de la Recherche Scientifiques
  • , Martha I. NelsonAffiliated withDivision of International Epidemiology and Population Studies, Fogarty International Center, National Institutes of Health
  • , Scott H. NewmanAffiliated withEmergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) Programme - Vietnam Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • , John Y. TakekawaAffiliated withU.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center, San Francisco Bay Estuary Field Station
  • , Nicolas GaidetAffiliated withCIRAD-ES, UR AGIRs
  • , Diann J. ProsserAffiliated withU.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
  • , Ying LiuAffiliated withSchool of Geography and Environment, Jiangxi Normal University
    • , Peng LiAffiliated withSchool of Geography and Environment, Jiangxi Normal UniversityInstitute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences
    • , Yuelong ShuAffiliated withNational Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention, China CDC
    • , Xiangming XiaoAffiliated withDepartment of Botany and Microbiology, Center for Spatial Analysis, University of Oklahoma

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For decades, southern China has been considered to be an important source for emerging influenza viruses since key hosts live together in high densities in areas with intensive agriculture. However, the underlying conditions of emergence and spread of avian influenza viruses (AIV) have not been studied in detail, particularly the complex spatiotemporal interplay of viral transmission between wild and domestic ducks, two major actors of AIV epidemiology. In this synthesis, we examine the risks of avian influenza spread in Poyang Lake, an area of intensive free-ranging duck production and large numbers of wild waterfowl. Our synthesis shows that farming of free-grazing domestic ducks is intensive in this area and synchronized with wild duck migration. The presence of juvenile domestic ducks in harvested paddy fields prior to the arrival and departure of migrant ducks in the same fields may amplify the risk of AIV circulation and facilitate the transmission between wild and domestic populations. We provide evidence associating wild ducks migration with the spread of H5N1 in the spring of 2008 from southern China to South Korea, Russia, and Japan, supported by documented wild duck movements and phylogenetic analyses of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 sequences. We suggest that prevention measures based on a modification of agricultural practices may be implemented in these areas to reduce the intensity of AIV transmission between wild and domestic ducks. This would require involving all local stakeholders to discuss feasible and acceptable solutions.


avian influenza virus wild birds migration interface contact ecology epidemiology China Poyang telemetry remote sensing GPS