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Leslie Canyon NWR Participates in Avian Influenza Sampling
Southwest Region, September 1, 2009
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The Institute for Bird Populations, in collaboration with the Center for Tropical Research at UCLA, is working with bird banders across the country to collect samples from birds banded to help identify possible transmission paths of avian influenza in North American migratory landbirds, and to further the goal of developing custom vaccines against Influenza A.  Since 2006, refuge staff has assisted in this effort by collecting potential viral samples, through cloacal swabbing, from birds captured during MAPS (Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survival) station banding at Leslie Canyon NWR.  In order to gain information on connectivity between breeding and wintering grounds (potential pathways for the spread of avian influenza), tail feather samples were also collected for DNA and stable isotope analyses from all individual birds that provided cloacal swab samples.  During the 2009 MAPS season, a total of fifty samples were collected by refuge staff following established UCLA protocols and using appropriate safety and hygiene precautions so that personnel do not make medical history by becoming the first humans to be diagnosed as having become infected with avian flu from contact with a live wild bird.  Results from birds swabbed during previous years have shown no instances of avian flu in Southeastern Arizona.

Contact Info: Christopher Lohrengel, 520-364-2104 x.106, chris_lohrengel@fws.gov



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