U.S. Finalizing Wild Bird Surveillance Program, Officials Say

US - The United States is making final details of a national bird surveillance and testing program that the administration hopes will help guard the country from the spread of a potential outbreak of highly-pathogenic - or lethal - bird flu, officials say.

The U.S. federal government is coordinating its efforts with Alaska, other states and Canada, over which wild - or migratory birds - from Asia and Russia fly during spring season to their final destinations in Central and South America, said Ron DeHaven, administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The program is a follow-up to the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, announced in November 2005 by President Bush.

DeHaven, together with Dale Hall and Susan Haseltine of the Department of Interior's U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), on January 27 briefed congressional staff and the media in Washington.

As part of the program, the United States will increase the number of bird surveillance stations along the Alaska and Pacific "flyways," coordinating with local "flyway councils," to determine if any birds exhibit symptoms of bird flu, also known as avian influenza, Hall said.

Flyway councils help local and state wildlife agencies coordinate efforts to protect and conserve migratory birds.

The Alaska flyway connects North America with Russia via airspace over the Bering Strait. The Pacific flyway runs along the west coast of the United States.

Source: SitNews
calendar icon 31 January 2006
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