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Keywords:

  • Social network analysis;
  • avian influenza;
  • backyard chicken;
  • Thailand

Summary

The aim of this study is to explain the social networks of the backyard chicken in Ratchaburi, Suphan Buri and Nakhon Pathom Provinces. In this study, we designed the nodes as groups of persons or places involved in activities relating to backyard chickens. The ties are all activities related to the nodes. The study applied a partial network approach to assess the spreading pattern of avian influenza. From 557 questionnaires collected from the nodes, the researchers found that the degree (the numbers of ties that a node has) and closeness (the distance from one node to the others) centralities of Nakhon Pathom were significantly higher than those of the others (< 0.001). The results show that compared with the remaining areas, this area is more quickly connected to many links. If the avian influenza virus subtype H5N1 was released into the network, the disease would spread throughout this province more rapidly than in Ratchaburi and Suphan Buri. The betweenness centrality in each of these provinces showed no differences (> 0.05). In this study, the nodes that play an important role in all networks are farmers who raise consumable chicken, farmers who raise both consumable chicken and fighting cocks, farmers’ households that connect with dominant nodes, and the owners and observers of fighting cocks at arenas and training fields. In this study, we did not find cut points or blocks in the network. Moreover, we detected a random network in all provinces. Thus, connectivity between the nodes covers long or short distances, with less predictable behaviour. Finally, this study suggests that activities between the important nodes must receive special attention for disease control during future disease outbreaks.