Thursday, July 13, 2006

Saskatoon centre to run survey for avian flu in wild birds

Saskatoon centre to run survey for avian flu in wild birds
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 11, 2006 | 3:53 PM CT
CBC News

Canadian scientists are preparing to conduct a national survey for avian flu in migratory birds.

The Canadian Co-operative Wildlife Health Centre, with headquarters at the University of Saskatchewan's Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, is co-ordinating the survey. It begins July 15 in most parts of Canada.

In the survey, dead and living birds from Asia, Africa and Europe that have been found in Canada will be tested for the bird flu virus.

Ted Leighton, director of the centre, said the plan is to test birds for avian flu as part of ongoing efforts to keep the flu away from domestic poultry stocks. The survey is also designed to promote early detection of bird flu across the country.

This is the second year in a row that the centre is organizing the survey. In 2005, the survey focused on wild ducks. This year, it has been expanded to include all wild birds.

Seeking public assistance

The centre is appealing to the public for help in reporting dead birds, especially if several of the same species are discovered in the same spot.

Leighton said the centre will test "particularly water birds and particularly birds that are dead in unusual numbers — you know, not just one duck but five ducks or three ducks" that are found dead together.

"We want to know what sorts of influenza viruses those birds have," he said.

The survey will also look at wild geese, including Arctic nesting geese and urban geese. He said the focus is "not because we think we will find nasty viruses in them, but we think we will find influenza viruses."

If the virus is found, a containment plan will be activated. Leighton said the poultry industry "will be put on high alert to make sure they don't let any viruses in the door."

Last year, a survey by the centre found that one-third of the wild ducks tested were carrying the bird flu virus.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home