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H9N2 avian influenza viruses (AIVs) are a major concern for the poultry sector and human health in countries where this subtype is endemic. By fitting a model simulating H9N2 AIV transmission to data from a field experiment, we characterise the epidemiology of the virus in a live bird market in Bangladesh. Many supplied birds arrive already exposed to H9N2 AIVs, resulting in many broiler chickens entering the market as infected, and many indigenous backyard chickens entering with pre-existing immunity. Most susceptible chickens become infected within one day spent at the market, owing to high levels of viral transmission within market and short latent periods, as brief as 5.3 hours. Although H9N2 AIV transmission can be substantially reduced under moderate levels of cleaning and disinfection, effective risk mitigation also requires a range of additional interventions targeting markets and other nodes along the poultry production and distribution network.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Animals, Influenza A Virus, H9N2 Subtype, Influenza in Birds, Chickens, Bangladesh, Poultry Diseases, Models, Biological