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Wild birds help to create human flu vaccine

cies are kept in close proximity, and risk exposure to a wide range of pathogens.

The White House's recently released "National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza" acknowledges the need to "expand and enhance mechanisms for screening and monitoring animals that may harbor viruses with pandemic potential." Working in tandem with national and international health agencies, congressional leaders have introduced legislation aimed at filling existing gaps in US pandemic preparedness by establishing a global network to monitor wild bird diseases and distributing real-time surveillance results to combat the spread of avian influenza. "Just as we track hurricanes when they begin as a tropical storm, we must track wild migratory birds and the viral storms they carry over oceans and continents and share that data with the world," said Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT), who recently introduced the Global Network for Avian Influenza Surveillance Act and has been working with congressional leaders to address this gap in US surveillance efforts.

"WCS has been at the forefront of research into the avian flu pandemic, and this development underscores the importance of their work," said Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY 18), author of the Pandemic Preparedness and Response Act to create an international plan to address avian flu. "This development will help ensure that we have a more accurate vaccine to target a possible avian flu pandemic. As we work in Congress to bolster preparedness for an avian flu pandemic, contributions like this from the scientific community will be critical to ensure that the steps we take will protect the public as best as possible."


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Source:Wildlife Conservation Society


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