For Emmanuel Camus, Director of CIRAD's Animal Production and Veterinary Medicine Department, "both types of vector are suspected. The balance may swing one way or the other, depending on the situation ". While legal trade circuits are more or less familiar, it will be less easy to evaluate the role of illegal circuits. As regards the role of migrating wild birds, an initial campaign of 5000 samples has been conducted by CIRAD, in conjunction with the NGO Wetlands International and the FAO, in 14 countries since January 2006.
Their analyses have not revealed any trace of the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus to date. However, we cannot state with any certainty that wild birds are not responsible, since we do not yet have certain data. Conversely, the analyses did reveal the existence of other less pathogenic avian viruses, and provided further information about the ecology of the bird flu virus in the tropics.
A new sampling campaign is scheduled in Africa as of September 2006, at more sites. Moreover, research recently showed that while bird flu viruses are generally found in the cloaca, H5N1 concentration is even higher in the respiratory tract of infected birds. In the next campaign, samples will thus also be taken from the larynx of each bird.
This new sampling operation will be facilitated by better local infrastructures: Africa will shortly have some ten laboratories capable of diagnosing the disease, compared to just one at the end of 2005. Moreover, the CIRAD "Control of Emerging and Exotic Animal Diseases" Research Unit's analysis laboratory in Montpellier should have automatic equipment by the autumn, enabling it to handle up to 400 samples a day and provide more rapid diagnoses.
Over and above the existence of the virus within flocks, researchers also need to understand intracontinental bird movements in particular. In effect, in addition to migration patterns, which have been known for some time, there are also bird movements within Africa, particularly from West to East and South to North, that may play a significant role in spreading the disease. To determine that role, CIRAD is planning to work with Wetlands International and the Wildlife Conservation Society to capture birds early this coming winter and fit them with very lightweight satellite transmitters so as to monitor their movements.
Helen Burford | alfa
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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