Emerging Infectious Disease, the Household Built Environment Characteristics, and Urban Planning

Evidence on Avian Influenza in Vietnam

Published in: Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 193 (January 2020). doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2019.103681

Posted on RAND.org on September 16, 2020

by James H. Spencer, Melissa L. Finucane, Jefferson Fox, Sumeet Saksena, Nargis Sultana

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Recent concerns with pandemic outbreaks of human disease and their origins in animal populations have ignited concerns regarding connections between Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) and development. As disasters, health, and infectious disease become part of planning concern, greater focus on household infrastructure and EID disease outbreaks among poultry is warranted. Following Spencer (2013), this study examines the relationship between the mix of household-scale water supplies, sanitation systems, and construction materials, and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) among poultry in a developing country: Vietnam. Findings of our multivariate logistic regressions suggest that a non-linear, Kuznets-shaped urban transition has an independent effect on the outbreak of HPAI, especially as it relates to household-level sanitation infrastructure. We conclude that the Kuznets-shape development of household infrastructure characteristics in Vietnam play a significant role in explaining where poultry outbreaks occur. Using secondary data from the Census of Population and Housing, and the Agricultural Census at the District and Commune levels for the country of Vietnam, we performed logistic regression to test the relationship between outbreaks of HPAI in poultry and newly-developed "coherence indices" of household water supply, sanitation, and construction materials that measure nonlinear, transitional development. Results show that district-scale coherence indices are negatively and independently correlated with HPAI outbreaks, especially for sanitation. Findings also suggest that community-scale coherence of urban infrastructures is a powerful tool for predicting where HPAI poultry outbreaks are likely to occur, thereby providing health planners new tools for efficient surveillance.

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