Wednesday July 7, 2010
U.S. songbirds carry low-risk bird flu, study finds
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Songbirds such as sparrows and thrushes carry various forms of bird flu and could potentially spread the viruses to pigs and poultry, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.
They tested more than 13,000 birds from 225 different species in 41 U.S. states, and found low-pathogenic avian influenza in 22 species, notably fox sparrows, Cassin's finches, Swainson's thrush and Western tanagers.
The team has also found avian influenza viruses in songbirds in Africa -- work that has not been published yet.
(Editing by Paul Simao)

The study also showed that if there was intensive farming in an area, wild birds were forced into smaller habitats and virus sharing between species increased.