Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bird Flu Watch Is Said to Focus On Wrong Area

The federal government has been looking in the wrong direction for signs that bird flu has arrived on the U.S. mainland, research suggests.
A study in the latest issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that birds flying north from Latin America are more likely to bring the H5N1 virus to the United States than are those migrating from Asia.
The United States' $29 million bird flu surveillance program has focused heavily on migratory birds flying from Asia to Alaska.
Yet those birds present a much lower risk than do migratory birds that come into contact with the hundreds of thousands of chickens imported each year to Central America and Mexico, said A. Marm Kilpatrick, lead author of the study.
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