Our view of wild birds is mostly positive. They are a lovely sight as they soar through the air or drift lazily on updrafts. But there is a downside to this beauty. Birds are reservoirs for all manner of infectious disease and we can do little about it, according to an article in the November 2005 issue of Microbiology Today, the quarterly magazine of the Society for General Microbiology.
“Wild birds carry several important human and animal diseases,” explains Dr Keith Jones of Lancaster University. The most notorious of these is bird ‘flu, but the list also includes other influenza viruses, West Nile Virus, psittacosis and Lyme disease. “We have also discovered that gulls can carry E. coli O157.”
Not only do these animals carry many harmful microbes, but because of migration patterns they are also responsible for the worldwide spread of the diseases.
Faye Jones | alfa
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