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Poultry trade network and disease transmission

Home to 2 million people and in one of the world’s poorest countries, Antananarivo hosts a flourishing poultry-farming sector, which provides food security and an income stream for many households. Local poultry farms are primarily small-scale and together provide an affordable source of protein with relatively low environmental impacts compared to industrial agriculture. However, these small operations can be devastated by poultry diseases, particularly Newcastle disease (ND), which swiftly spreads between birds and can cause 100 percent mortality in unvaccinated flocks. This project is modeling the spread and distribution of ND in Antananarivo in order to identify ND-infection risk factors, as well as to improve vaccination and prevent outbreaks. The project’s hypothesis is that the trade of live birds increases the risks of disease transmission and that poultry are most at risk of infection from contact at trading hubs rather than between neighboring farms. The data will be used to explore the cost and benefit of ND vaccination for local poultry farmers.

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