Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Characterizing the contribution of industrial food animal production to the transmission and emergence of influenza A viruses
by Leibler, Jessica H., Dr.P.H., The Johns Hopkins University, 2010, 292; 3579515
Abstract (Summary)

The goal of my dissertation is to characterize the contribution of industrial food animal production to between-farm transmission of zoonotic influenza A viruses and transmission of these viruses from industrial food animals to humans. The intention of this research is to improve the capacity of public health policies in the United States to prevent the emergence of pandemic influenza viruses.

Preventing and controlling outbreaks within animal populations and avoiding human infection with zoonotic influenza A viruses can reduce the risk of emergence of pandemic influenza viruses in human populations. Industrial food animal production, which dominates the market in the United States and much of the developed world – and increasingly, the developing world as well – has long been considered biosecure. However, emerging research indicates that these industrial systems are vulnerable to disease incursions and suggests that they may play a central role in driving the emergence of zoonotic diseases. The implications of these industrial systems for human influenza risk, particularly the emergence of novel zoonotic influenza A viruses, remains largely unaddressed in the current literature and in health policy strategies in the United States.

Chapter 1 of this dissertation outlines my research goals and provides background on my central research themes and topics. Chapter 2 documents the limits of biosecurity within industrial systems, highlighting risks to food animal workers. Chapter 3 details a cross-sectional serology study of a cohort of industrial poultry workers and community members (n=99) in the Delmarva Peninsula, a tri-state area of intense poultry production in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. No evidence of infection with avian influenza viruses is observed in this population.

Chapter 4 contains a quantitative modeling study to estimates risk of between-farm transmission of avian influenza viruses among industrial poultry farms. This study concluded that company affiliation was a significant source of exposure risk from vehicular transmission. Chapter 5 is a policy analysis of the limitations of current pandemic preparedness policy in the United States to adequately incorporate primary prevention. The central results of this dissertation, their significance to public health and opportunities for further research are highlighted in Chapter 6.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Silbergeld, Ellen
School: The Johns Hopkins University
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-B 75/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Environmental Health, Agriculture, Public health
Keywords: Avian influenza, Industrial food animal production, Infectious disease modeling, Occupational health, Seroepidemiology, Zoonoses
Publication Number: 3579515
ISBN: 9781303770999
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