BACKGROUND:Previous studies have proven that the closure of live poultry markets (LPMs) was an effective intervention to reduce human risk of avian influenza A (H7N9) infection, but evidence is limited on the impact of scale and duration of LPMs closure on the transmission of H7N9.
METHOD:Five cities (i.e., Shanghai, Suzhou, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hangzhou) with the largest number of H7N9 cases in mainland China from 2013 to 2017 were selected in this study. Data on laboratory-confirmed H7N9 human cases in those five cities were obtained from the Chinese National Influenza Centre. The detailed information of LPMs closure (i.e., area and duration) was obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture. We used a generalized linear model with a Poisson link to estimate the effect of LPMs closure, reported as relative risk reduction (RRR). We used classification and regression trees (CARTs) model to select and quantify the dominant factor of H7N9 infection.
RESULTS:All five cities implemented the LPMs closure, and the risk of H7N9 infection decreased significantly after LPMs closure with RRR ranging from 0.80 to 0.93. Respectively, a long-term LPMs closure for 10-13 weeks elicited a sustained and highly significant risk reduction of H7N9 infection (RRR = 0.98). Short-time LPMs closure with 2 weeks in every epidemic did not reduce the risk of H7N9 infection (p > 0.05). Partially closed LPMs in some suburbs contributed only 35% for reduction rate (RRR = 0.35). Shenzhen implemented partial closure for first 3 epidemics (p > 0.05) and all closure in the latest 2 epidemic waves (RRR = 0.64).
CONCLUSION:Our findings suggest that LPMs all closure in whole city can be a highly effective measure comparing with partial closure (i.e. only urban closure, suburb and rural remain open). Extend the duration of closure and consider permanently closing the LPMs will help improve the control effect. The effect of LPMs closure seems greater than that of meteorology on H7N9 transmission.