Study identifies potential wild bird flu transmitters

US - University of Georgia researchers Tuesday said in a release that the common wood duck and laughing gull are very susceptible to highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza viruses and have the potential to transmit them.
calendar icon 26 October 2006
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The findings demonstrate that different species of North American birds would respond very differently to infection. David Stallknecht, associate professor in the department of population health at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine and co-author of the study, said knowing which species are likely to be affected by highly pathogenic H5N1 viruses is a vital component of efforts to quickly detect the disease should it arrive in North America.

"It was very interesting that in some species that you normally think of as influenza reservoirs - the mallard, for instance - the duration and extent of viral shedding is relatively low," Stallknecht said. "This may be good news since it suggests that highly pathogenic H5N1 may have a difficult time surviving in North American wild birds even if it did arrive here."


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