Highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus was first reported in Africa in February 2006 inNigeria and subsequently infected seven other countries producing considerable socioeconomic losses. The epidemiological characteristics of HPAI H5N1 outbreaks seem to differ from those observed in Asia and this unexpected behaviour has hindered efforts for surveillance and control of the disease. The aim of this study is to improve the understanding of the epidemiology of HPAI in Africa by assessing risk factors for introduction, spread and persistence of HPAI outbreaks in seven infected countries (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan). Standardised methods will be used to review existing HPAI-related information, conduct retrospective HPAI outbreak investigations with biological sample collection, compare infected and non-infected areas, and collect risk factor information at the national level. Collected data and samples will be analysed to provide a standardized description of HPAI situation and outbreak patterns in the seven infected African countries included in the project, to assess risk factors related to introduction, spread and persistence of HPAI, and to predict, to the best of the available knowledge, areas with the highest likelihood of occurrence of HPAI. Activities will be conducted by a team of national experts (one national consultant specifically recruited for the project in each participating country, agents of the national veterinary services and national veterinary diagnostic laboratories) and international experts from CIRAD, FAO, FLI, IZS, RVC and ULB. The final outcome will be the writing of recommendations to enhance the efficiency of HPAI prevention and control strategies in Africa.
The overall objective of this study is to improve the understanding of the epidemiology of HPAI in Africa with the final aim of providing recommendations for enhanced surveillance and control of the disease.
This study aims at :
Three types of epidemiological studies will be used to fulfil the three specific objectives.
This type of studies aims at answering the fundamental questions of what happened, where, when, how and to who? However simple these studies may seem compared to other more “fancy” epidemiological tools available, they provide basic but essential epidemiological knowledge. They are at the source of the formulation of hypotheses concerning risk factors for diseases.
Analytic studies are used to study determinants of a disease: causes and risk factors. They are designed to test hypotheses concerning the relationship between a suspected risk factor and an outcome, and they imply a comparison among two or more groups. In our case the outcome of interest is H5N1 HPAI infection and the two groups which will be compared are infected and non-infected sites or areas.
Predictive studies basically build on knowledge gathered by descriptive and analytic studies. They can also incorporate methods developed by the decision-making sciences to palliate for scarcity of field data. They use risk analysis, mathematical and spatial modelling tools to predict disease occurrence and to answer “What if” questions.
Activities which will be implemented for descriptive, analytic and predictive studies can also be classified by general type of activities: preparation work, information collection at the national level, information collection at the local level (field work), laboratory analyses, data management and analyses, and report writing. A description of activities and persons responsible for each activity is provided hereafter.
The main outputs of the project will include:
Epidemiology : Fabienne Biteau-Coroller; Véronique Chevalier; Eric Etter; Flavie Goutard; Sophie Molia; François Roger
|Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations||