Bird Flu Targeted By Local Scientists

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, September 27, 2005

UC Davis researchers are working with federal agencies by watching out for any sign of bird flu in wild birds, poultry and people.

"The fact that it could become transmittable means it’s too big a bet not to really prepare like crazy."

Dr. Warner Hudson with the UC Davis Medical Center is an expert on infectious diseases. He says early intervention is the key. "So the wild bird experts and the poultry experts are working hard to screen and the human experts are on alert to notice a case in a traveler."

Scientists say deficient animal agriculture conditions in Asia have prompted the spread of the disease among domestic poultry.

But Carol Cardona – a UC Davis veterinarian – says most poultry in this country are not raised under the same conditions. "The methods used to raise poultry in the United States are vastly different from those that are used in most parts of Asia to raise poultry."

Still, Cardona is working with large and small poultry producers to develop detection and prevention strategies.

The World Health Organization says avian influenza is the most serious health threat facing the world. It’s already killed 59 people in Southeast Asia.