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Open Access Research article

Evaluating the control of HPAIV H5N1 in Vietnam: virus transmission within infected flocks reported before and after vaccination

Ricardo J Soares Magalhães12*, Dirk U Pfeiffer1 and Joachim Otte3

Author Affiliations

1 The Royal Veterinary College, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Veterinary Epidemiology and Public Health Group, London, UK, Hawkshead Lane AL9 7TA, UK

2 School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Edith Cavell Building, Herston Road, Herston QLD 4006, Australia

3 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation, Pro-Poor Livestock Initiative, Vialle Del Terme de Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy

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BMC Veterinary Research 2010, 6:31  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-6-31

Published: 5 June 2010



Currently, the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) of the subtype H5N1 is believed to have reached an endemic cycle in Vietnam. We used routine surveillance data on HPAIV H5N1 poultry outbreaks in Vietnam to estimate and compare the within-flock reproductive number of infection (R0) for periods before (second epidemic wave, 2004-5; depopulation-based disease control) and during (fourth epidemic wave, beginning 2007; vaccination-based disease control) vaccination.


Our results show that infected premises (IPs) in the initial (exponential) phases of outbreak periods have the highest R0 estimates. The IPs reported during the outbreak period when depopulation-based disease control was implemented had higher R0 estimates than IPs reported during the outbreak period when vaccination-based disease control was used. In the latter period, in some flocks of a defined size and species composition, within-flock transmission estimates were not significantly below the threshold for transmission (R0 < 1).


Our results indicate that the current control policy based on depopulation plus vaccination has protected the majority of poultry flocks against infection. However, in some flocks the determinants associated with suboptimal protection need to be further investigated as these may explain the current pattern of infection in animal and human populations.