Pyres: 2001 UK FMD Outbreak - Photo: Murdo Macleod.  Slides L-R: Smallpox, SARS Coronavirus , Foot and Mouth Disease, West Nile Virus.

Biodefense Threat Analysis & Communications Center
Pandemic Influenza: Contingency Planning

Contact: Stephen M. Apatow
, Director of Research and Development, Humanitarian University Consortium GraduateStudies Center for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Law.  Email:

The following topic has been opened for discussion with the IVPHC Working Group.

Related News

ProMED: 24 January 2007, Archive 20070124.0323
PNAS | December 19, 2006 | vol. 103 | no. 51 | 19368-19373

Predicting the global spread of H5N1 avian influenza A: *Consortium for Conservation Medicine, New York, NY 10001; Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL, United Kingdom; and National Museum of Natural History, and Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20008

The spread of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza into Asia, Europe, and Africa has resulted in enormous impacts on the poultry industry and presents an important threat to human health. The pathways by which the virus has and will spread between countries
have been debated extensively, but have yet to be analyzed comprehensively and quantitatively. We integrated data on phylogenetic relationships of virus isolates, migratory bird movements, and trade in poultry and wild birds to determine the
pathway for 52 individual introduction events into countries and predict future spread. We show that 9 of 21 of H5N1 introductions to countries in Asia were most likely through poultry, and 3 of 21 were most likely through migrating birds. In contrast, spread to most
(20/23) countries in Europe was most likely through migratory birds. Spread in Africa was likely partly by poultry (2/8 introductions) and partly by migrating birds (3/8). Our analyses predict that H5N1 is more likely to be introduced into the Western Hemisphere through infected poultry and into the mainland United States by subsequent movement of migrating birds from neighboring countries, rather than from eastern Siberia. These results highlight the potential synergism between trade and wild animal movement in the emergence and pandemic spread of pathogens and demonstrate the value of predictive models for disease control.

Recent Publications
Pandemic Influenza: International Contingency Planning

In December 2003, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) was confirmed about 80 kilometres south-east of the capital, Seoul (December 2003), it was noted that if the outbreak moved beyond the borders of Korea to countries in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway via migratory bird patterns, could we be looking at a widespread international multi-country outbreak (such as West Nile Virus throughout North America).

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway stretches from within the Arctic Circle in Siberia and western Alaska, through North and South East Asia to Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. It covers twenty countries including Russia, Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Mongolia, Alaska, Cambodia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, East Timor, Brunei, Singapore and Papua New Guinea, as well as Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Assessing Spread via Migratory Birds

.Left to Right: RMap 1: East Asian-Australasian Flyway: Migratory Waterbirds, RMap 2: North American Migration Flyways:  Northern Region, RMap 3: North American Migration Flyways:  Northern Region

On 25 October 2004  (Bird Flu Found in Migrant Birds in Siberia), MosNews reported:

"The bird flu virus has been discovered in migrant birds living in Novosibirsk region. Ducks and geese are thought to have brought the virus from South East Asia, the head of a local zoogenous infections laboratory, Alexander Shestopalov, was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying."

As the World Health Organization redefined international law during the SARS outbreak, we were fortunate that 90% of patients recovered without hospitalization (SARS coronavirus: a new challenge for prevention and therapy), while from a biodefense standpoint the viral strain presented a new challenge:

"The genes of SARS-CoV were compared with the corresponding genes of known coronaviruses of humans, pigs, cattle, dogs, cats, mice, rats, chickens, and turkeys. Each gene of SARS-CoV has only 70% or less identity with the corresponding gene of the known coronaviruses. Thus, SARS-CoV is only dis-tantly related to the known coronaviruses of humans and animals. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that SARS-CoV does not fit within any of the three groups that contain all other known coronaviruses."

Today, a global population of approximately 6.4 billion, must be considered in contingency plans for containment and control of a pandemic influenza outbreak. 

  • Avian InfluenzaDave Halvorson, College Of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota.
  • Influenza: Biodefense and Epidemiological Tracking, Humanitarian Resource Institute.
  • West Nile Virus: Biodefense and Epidemiological Tracking, Humanitarian Resource Institute.

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