According to a study by the US Geological Survey (USGS), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, wild migratory birds may play a role in the spread of bird flu, also known as highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1.
USGS says researchers attached GPS satellite transmitters to a group of bar-headed geese – wild specie that migrates across most of Asia and that died in the thousands in the 2005 bird flu outbreak in Qinghai Lake, China. GPS data showed that wild geese tagged at Qinghai Lake spend their winters in a region outside of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, where H5N1 outbreaks have occurred in domestic geese and chickens.
“This is the first evidence of a mechanism for transmission between domestic farms and wild birds”, said Diann Prosser, a USGS biologist at its Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
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Sachiye Day, VERTICES intern. firstname.lastname@example.org