The presence of free-grazing ducks (FGD) has consistently been shown to be associated with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) H5N1 outbreaks in South-East Asia. However, the lack of knowledge about the transmission pathways limits the effectiveness of control efforts. To address this gap, we developed a probabilistic transmission model of HPAIV H5N1 in the nomadic FGD production system in Viet Nam, assuming different scenarios to address parameter uncertainty. Results suggested that HPAIV H5N1 could spread within the nomadic FGD production system, with an estimated flock-level effective reproduction number (re) ranging from 2.16 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.39-3.49) to 6.10 (95%CI: 3.93-9.85) depending on the scenario. Indirect transmission via boats and trucks was shown to be the main transmission route in all scenarios. Results suggest that re could be reduced below one with 95% confidence if 86% of FGD flocks were vaccinated in the best-case scenario or 95% in the worst-case scenario. If vaccination was combined with cleaning and disinfection of transport vehicles twice a week, vaccination coverage could be lowered to 60% in the best-case scenario. These findings are of particular relevance for prioritising interventions for effective control of HPAIV in nomadic free-grazing duck production systems.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare no competing interests.
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