26. september 2023

Models for predicting highly pathogenic avian influenza detections in Europe

Assistant professor Lene Kjær, Section for Animal Welfare and Disease Control has released an interesting articel in Scientific Reports with the title; Using surveillance data for early warning modelling of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Europe reveals a seasonal shift in transmission, 2016–2022.


Avian influenza in wild birds and poultry flocks constitutes a problem for animal welfare, food security and public health. In recent years there have been increasing numbers of outbreaks in Europe, with many poultry flocks culled after being infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Continuous monitoring is crucial to enable timely implementation of control to prevent HPAI spread from wild birds to poultry and between poultry flocks within a country. We here utilize readily available public surveillance data and time-series models to predict HPAI detections within European countries and show a seasonal shift that happened during 2021–2022. The output is models capable of monitoring the weekly risk of HPAI outbreaks, to support decision making.

Highlights of the article

  • We built models for predicting highly pathogenic avian influenza detections in Europe using readily available surveillance data.
  • We used an endemic-epidemic modelling framework based on point process modelling.
  • We were able to predict the probability and timing of detections for European detections in 2016–2021 and 2021–2022.
  • The models revealed a seasonal shift in observed and predicted detections in Europe.
  • HPAI detections were mostly explained by within-country transmission, but with a considerable contribution from other countries.
  • The model based on 2021–2022 data attributed more detections to endemic transmission than the model based on 2016–2021 data.
  • This modelling framework can be used as a decision support tool to predict periods with higher risk of HPAI within countries in Europe.
  • This work was carried out as part of the ENIGMA project, a veterinary contingency project funded by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.

Download the article in pdf format