Wild migratory waterfowl are considered one of the most important reservoirs and long-distance carriers of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Our study aimed to explore the spatial and temporal characteristics of wild migratory waterfowl’s wintering habitat in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and to evaluate the impact of these habitats on the risk of HPAI outbreaks in commercial poultry farms. The habitat use of 344 wild migratory waterfowl over four migration cycles was estimated based on tracking records. The association of habitat use with HPAI H5N8 outbreaks in poultry farms was evaluated using a multilevel logistic regression model. We found that a poultry farm within a wild waterfowl habitat had a 3–8 times higher risk of HPAI outbreak than poultry farms located outside of the habitat. The range of wild waterfowl habitats increased during autumn migration, and was associated with the epidemic peak of HPAI outbreaks on domestic poultry farms in the ROK. Our findings provide a better understanding of the dynamics of HPAI infection in the wildlife–domestic poultry interface and may help to establish early detection, and cost-effective preventive measures.
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