Modeling the spread of bird flu and predicting outbreak diversity. (English) Zbl 1154.92324
Summary: Avian influenza, commonly known as bird flu, is an epidemic caused by H5N1 virus that primarily affects birds like chickens, wild water birds, etc. On rare occasions, these can infect other species including pigs and humans. In the span of less than a year, the lethal strain of bird flu is spreading very fast across the globe mainly in South East Asia, parts of Central Asia, Africa and Europe. In order to study the patterns of spread of epidemic, we made an investigation of outbreaks of the epidemic in one week, that is from February 13-18, 2006, when the deadly virus surfaced in India. We have designed a statistical transmission model of bird flu taking into account the factors that affect the epidemic transmission such as source of infection, social and natural factors and various control measures are suggested. For modeling the general intensity coefficient , we have implemented the recent ideas given by R. Howlett [Fitting the bill. Nature 439, 402 (2006)], which describes the geographical spread of epidemics due to transportation of poultry products. Our aim is to study the spread of avian influenza, both in time and space, to gain a better understanding of transmission mechanism. Our model yields satisfactory results as evidenced by the simulations and may be used for the prediction of future situations of epidemic for longer periods. We utilize real data at these various scales and our model allows one to generalize our predictions and make better suggestions for the control of this epidemic.