As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Bird viruses under study pose no threat to humans

PORT CLINTON -- When ducks and geese stop in at the Lake Erie marshes for a rest or to catch dinner, they could pick up a case of the flu.

Or, they might be leaving the virus behind for other birds to catch.

Two Ohio State University professors are studying waterfowl influenza in Lake Erie marshes in the Port Clinton area, including Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Benton Township and Magee Marsh state wildlife area in Carroll Township. They are examining what types of flu viruses lurk in the marshes, how long they survive, how they affect waterfowl and whether the spread of these viruses can be stopped.

"If a dangerous virus were introduced into North America by wild birds, we would have a model to use to assess the risks before the virus spread into or beyond the marshes in Ohio," Professor Richard Slemmons of OSU's Department of Veterinary Preventative Medicine said in an Ohio Sea Grant College Program article last year.

Scientists hope to use the information they learn from the study to manipulate the conditions in a marsh to weaken a virus more quickly, according to the Ohio Sea Grant article.


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