Spatial dynamics of bar-headed geese migration in the context of H5N1

Virulent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) since 2005 have raised the question about the roles of migratory and wild birds in the transmission of HPAI. Despite increased monitoring, the role of wild waterfowl as the primary source of the highly pathogenic H5N1 has not been clearly established. The impact of outbreaks of HPAI among species of wild birds which are already endangered can nevertheless have devastating consequences for the local and non-local ecology where migratory species are established. Understanding the entangled dynamics of migration and the disease dynamics will be key to prevention and control measures for humans, migratory birds and poultry. Here, we present a spatial dynamic model of seasonal migration derived from first principles and linking the local dynamics during migratory stopovers to the larger scale migratory routes. We discuss the effect of repeated epizootic at specific migratory stopovers for bar-headed geese (Anser indicus). We find that repeated deadly outbreaks of H5N1 on stopovers during the autumn migration of bar-headed geese could lead to a larger reduction in the size of the equilibrium bird population compared with that obtained after repeated outbreaks during the spring migration. However, the opposite is true during the first few years of transition to such an equilibrium. The age-maturation process of juvenile birds which are more susceptible to H5N1 reinforces this result.