01:00am Wednesday 23 August 2017

Avian flu identified in songbirds

Songbirds and avian fluThe golden-crowned kinglet was found to carry influenza. (Credit: State of Wisconsin)
“Avian influenza virus (AIV) is an important public health issue because pandemic influenza viruses in people have contained genes from viruses that infect birds,” said Trevon Fuller, a postdoctoral research fellow at the UCLA Institute of the Environment’s Center for Tropical Research.
 
Fuller, a biologist, is the lead author of a paper on U.S. wild birds and avian flu published recently in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Infectious Diseases.
 
Researchers tested more than 13,000 birds from 225 different species in 41 continental states. They found low-pathogenic avian influenza in 22 species of songbirds and perching birds, including sparrows, finches and thrushes. That is greater than the number found in eight other avian orders, including waterfowl.
 
The research was supported by the Ecology of Infectious Diseases Program, a joint initiative of the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

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