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Experts at AAAS Forum Assess the Spread of Avian Flu in Birds, People
While health authorities are paying close attention to the possible spread of avian flu to the United States, a leading bird researcher says it is incorrect to assume that migratory birds will be the primary culprits.
“You actually have to have the smoking gun,” says Peter Marra, a senior scientist with the Smithsonian Institution’s Migratory Bird Center. “You have to have an individual [bird] that’s migrating that is also carrying the virus to the point where it can actually shed the virus. And that’s difficult.”
Specialists are trying to sort out the role of migratory birds in spreading the virus compared to that of infected poultry or wild birds traded legally or on the black market. Experts discussed the role of birds in spreading the diseaseand a range of human preparations for a possible human pandemicon Thursday 20 April at the 31st annual AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy in Washington, D.C.
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