Poultry trading behaviours in Vietnamese live bird markets as risk factors for avian influenza infection in chickens

Vietnamese poultry are host to co-circulating subtypes of avian influenza viruses, including H5N1 and H9N2, which pose a great risk to poultry productivity and to human health. AIVs circulate throughout the poultry trade network in Vietnam, with live bird markets being an integral component to this network. Traders at LBMs exhibit a variety of trading practices, which may influence the transmission of AIVs. We identified trading practices that impacted on AIV prevalence in chickens marketed in northern Vietnamese LBMs. We generated sequencing data for 31 H9N2 and 2 H5N6 viruses. Viruses isolated in the same LBM or from chickens sourced from the same province were genetically closer than viruses isolated in different LBMs or from chickens sourced in different provinces. The position of a vendor in the trading network impacted on their odds of having AIV infected chickens. Being a retailer and purchasing chickens from middlemen was associated with increased odds of infection, whereas odds decreased if vendors purchased chickens directly from large farms. Odds of infection were also higher for vendors having a greater volume of ducks unsold per day. These results indicate how the spread of AIVs is influenced by the structure of the live poultry trading network.

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