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Avian flu - how Wetlands International can help

01-Feb-2004

Wetlands International is keen to provide access to its expertise on waterbirds and its databases, to assist our members and the authorities to better understand the relationship, if any, between wil...
Wetlands International is keen to provide access to its expertise on waterbirds and its databases, to assist our members and the authorities to better understand the relationship, if any, between wild populations of waterbirds and the reported patterns of disease within the farmed bird stock. Waterbirds, along with many other birds have been implicated in connection with the Avian Influenza outbreak, both as vectors and as a reservoir of disease. There is a long history of previous avian diseases, with well-studied outbreaks across the world, however the present intensity of disease in domestic birds, particularly chickens in Asia, is causing great concern. We regard the link between waterbirds in the wild and the spread of the highly infectious disease Avian influenza A(H5N1), as speculative at present, because reported patterns of spread appear to be most strongly correlated with movement of domestic stock, rather than wild birds. Our current advice is to reduce as far as possible the contact between poultry and wild birds in general and also to avoid trading in wild birds, which inevitably come into contact with domestic stock through markets.

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