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Recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses in poultry and their threatening zoonotic consequences emphasize the need for effective control measures. Although vaccination of poultry against avian influenza provides a potentially attractive control measure, little is known about the effect of vaccination on epidemiologically relevant parameters, such as transmissibility and the infectious period. We used transmission experiments to study the effect of vaccination on the transmission characteristics of HPAI A/Chicken/Netherlands/03 H7N7 in chickens. In the experiments, a number of infected and uninfected chickens is housed together and the infection chain is monitored by virus isolation and serology. Analysis is based on a stochastic susceptible, latently infected, infectious, recovered (SEIR) epidemic model. We found that vaccination is able to reduce the transmission level to such an extent that a major outbreak is prevented, important variables being the type of vaccine (H7N1 or H7N3) and the moment of challenge after vaccination. Two weeks after vaccination, both vaccines completely block transmission. One week after vaccination, the H7N1 vaccine is better than the H7N3 vaccine at reducing the spread of the H7N7 virus. We discuss the implications of these findings for the use of vaccination programs in poultry and the value of transmission experiments in the process of choosing vaccine.
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|