Sunday, 11 April 2010

Bird flu linked to cold snaps

Outbreaks of H5N1 flu among birds in Europe came at the edges of cold fronts that caused wild birds to change migration patterns, scientists said, suggesting cold snaps may signal future outbreaks.

Dutch and American researchers found European outbreaks of avian influenza during the 2005-2006 winter were driven by collective movements of wild water birds to places where the fresh water they need to feed and survive had not frozen.

"Surveillance . . . should target areas where temperatures are close to freezing in winter, especially in poultry-dense regions close to areas where waterfowl aggregate," the researchers wrote in the journal PloS Pathogens.

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