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Submitted by Patricio V Marquez on
Thanks for your comments as they highlight a major risk factor for the spread of zoonotic diseases. A paper by Graham et al published in 2008 concluded the following in relation to your observation: "Understanding interactions between animals and humans is critical in preventing outbreaks of zoonotic disease. This is particularly important for avian influenza. Food animal production has been transformed since the 1918 influenza pandemic. Poultry and swine production have changed from smallscale methods to industrial-scale operations. There is substantial evidence of pathogen movement between and among these industrial facilities, release to the external environment, and exposure to farm workers, which challenges the assumption that modern poultry production is more biosecure and biocontained as compared with backyard or small holder operations in preventing introduction and release of pathogens. An analysis of data from the Thai government investigation in 2004 indicates that the odds of H5N1 outbreaks and infections were significantly higher in large-scale commercial poultry operations as compared with backyard flocks. These data suggest that successful strategies to prevent or mitigate the emergence of pandemic avian influenza must consider risk factors specific to modern industrialized food animal production." Given the above, Graham et al (2008), suggested that: "renewed attention to the animal-human interface should focus on high-risk populations, especially farm workers. A similar conclusion was reached by Saenz et al (2006)in an analysis of the risks of influenza outbreaks and transmission to human populations in the context of large-scale commercial poultry and swine production. Monitoring this population may improve detection of early events in emergence of avian influenza. In addition, careful evaluation of operations at all poultry facilities—large and small—should be undertaken to reduce opportunities for the transmission of disease among avian and other species. Moreover, if appropriate protections such as vaccination are identified, the agricultural workforce constitutes a high-risk population for whom protection from zoonotic disease is important not only for their health but for the health of their communities and the population at large. Finally, improved oversight and management of animal wastes—including transport and sale as well as use in aquaculture—should be included in strategies to reduce risks of pandemic HPAI." To read the above paper: