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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/19872

Title: Animal Ownership and Touching Enrich the Context of Social Contacts Relevant to the Spread of Human Infectious Diseases
Authors: Kifle, Yimer Wasihun
Goeyvaerts, Nele
Van Kerckhove, Kim
Willem, Lander
Faes, Christel
Leirs, Herwig
Hens, Niel
Beutels, Philippe
Issue Date: 2015
Citation: PLOS ONE, 10 (7)
Abstract: Many human infectious diseases originate from animals or are transmitted through animal vectors. We aimed to identify factors that are predictive of ownership and touching of animals, assess whether animal ownership influences social contact behavior, and estimate the probability of a major zoonotic outbreak should a transmissible influenza-like pathogen be present in animals, all in the setting of a densely populated European country. A diary-based social contact survey (n = 1768) was conducted in Flanders, Belgium, from September 2010 until February 2011. Many participants touched pets (46%), poultry (2%) or livestock (2%) on a randomly assigned day, and a large proportion of participants owned such animals (51%, 15% and 5%, respectively). Logistic regression models indicated that larger households are more likely to own an animal and, unsurprisingly, that animal owners are more likely to touch animals. We observed a significant effect of age on animal ownership and touching. The total number of social contacts during a randomly assigned day was modeled using weighted-negative binomial regression. Apart from age, household size and day type (weekend versus weekday and regular versus holiday period), animal ownership was positively associated with the total number of social contacts during the weekend. Assuming that animal ownership and/or touching are at-risk events, we demonstrate a method to estimate the outbreak potential of zoonoses. We show that in Belgium animal-human interactions involving young children (0-9 years) and adults (25-54 years) have the highest potential to cause a major zoonotic outbreak.
Notes: [Kifle, Yimer Wasihun; Goeyvaerts, Nele; Willem, Lander; Hens, Niel; Beutels, Philippe] Univ Antwerp, Vaccine & Infect Dis Inst, CHERMID, B-2020 Antwerp, Belgium. [Kifle, Yimer Wasihun; Goeyvaerts, Nele; Van Kerckhove, Kim; Willem, Lander; Faes, Christel; Hens, Niel] Hasselt Univ, Interuniv Inst Biostat & Stat Bioinformat I BioSt, Diepenbeek, Belgium. [Willem, Lander] Univ Antwerp, Dept Math & Comp Sci, B-2020 Antwerp, Belgium. [Leirs, Herwig] Univ Antwerp, Evolutionary Ecol Grp, B-2020 Antwerp, Belgium. [Beutels, Philippe] Univ New S Wales, Sch Publ Hlth & Community Med, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/19872
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133461
ISI #: 000358546400091
ISSN: 1932-6203
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Validation: ecoom, 2016
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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