In the past two decades, avian influenzas have posed an increasing international threat to human and livestock health. In particular, highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 has spread across Asia, Africa, and Europe, leading to the deaths of millions of poultry and hundreds of people. The two main means of international spread are through migratory birds and the live poultry trade. We focus on the role played by the live poultry trade in the spread of H5N1 across three regions widely infected by the disease, which also correspond to three major trade blocs: the European Union (EU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Across all three regions, we found per-capita GDP (a proxy for modernization, general biosecurity, and value-at-risk) to be risk reducing. A more specific biosecurity measure–general surveillance–was also found to be mitigating at the all-regions level. However, there were important inter-regional differences. For the EU and ASEAN, intra-bloc live poultry imports were risk reducing while extra-bloc imports were risk increasing; for ECOWAS the reverse was true. This is likely due to the fact that while the EU and ASEAN have long-standing biosecurity standards and stringent enforcement (pursuant to the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures), ECOWAS suffered from a lack of uniform standards and lax enforcement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)