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Illinois Dept of Nat Resources - news release

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  • Illinois Dept of Nat Resources - news release

    More on the birds in Illinois.
    I added the underline, they already had the words bolded. - MHSC

    Livestock Management Facilities Grant Program

    October 6, 2006
    State awarded $75,000 in federal funding to pursue surveillance activities
    </center> SPRINGFIELD, IL ? The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced plans to participate in the national surveillance effort for highly-pathogenic (HP) Asian H5N1 avian influenza by collecting samples from hunter-harvested waterfowl this fall. Illinois has been awarded $75,000 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to pursue statewide surveillance of certain species of wild birds for the disease.

    ?While the highly pathogenic avian flu strain causing concern in Asia has not been detected in North America, the IDNR is working on a comprehensive avian flu surveillance plan that will help in the early detection of the virus should it arrive in the U.S.,? said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood. ?Our in-state surveillance and testing activities are helping to provide scientists and the federal government with vital information about the spread of this disease.?

    ?Illinois hunters and the IDNR have a long history of cooperation on wildlife issues including disease surveillance, conservation, and management,? said John Buhnerkempe, chief of the IDNR Division of Wildlife Resources. ?The IDNR is once again asking hunters to help in a vital wildlife information collection effort which has not only wildlife health implications but potential implications for domestic poultry and human health, as well.?

    Through federal funding obtained by the state, the Illinois DNR plans to collect a total of 750 samples this fall as well as during spring migration. Samples will be taken from several species of ducks and geese which were selected based on migratory connections to other continents where HP Asian H5N1 is known to occur. A secondary group of species that have potential to intermix with those in the primary species set will also be a part of the collection sample.

    Currently, HP Asian H5N1 has not been detected in North America. While the role of wild birds in transporting HP Asian H5N1 is not clear, this surveillance effort will help to ensure early detection of the disease should it arrive in North America.

    Waterfowl hunters from various sites throughout Illinois will be asked by IDNR staff to allow samples to be collected from their birds this hunting season. The sampling procedure, which consists of a swab of the cloaca (posterior part of the intestinal tract), will only take a minute and waterfowl will be returned to the hunter. Not all harvested waterfowl will be sampled as only pre-determined numbers of certain species have been targeted and hunters will not be informed individually of their bird?s test results.

    ?While the sampling is voluntary, hunters are encouraged to participate in this important national effort,? Buhnerkempe added. ?Without the help of hunters, this surveillance effort will not be possible.?

    The USDA announced last Friday that a low pathogenic strain of avian influenza has been identified in hunter-harvested ducks collected recently from the Rice Lake Conservation Area in Fulton County, Illinois. A duck has tested positive for both an H5 and N1 low pathogenic type of avian influenza and another duck has tested positive for an N1 low pathogenic type. While a positive identification of the strain encountered has not been made, the strain of avian influenza detected is not the highly pathogenic Asian H5N1 strain which has caused mortality in domestic poultry, wild birds, and humans on other continents. The USDA indicates that the type of avian influenza discovered does not pose a threat to human health.

    One hundred and forty-four subtypes of avian influenza are known to exist in wild birds and low pathogenic forms that generally do not cause sickness are common in wild ducks, including low pathogenic H5N1. Identifying low pathogenic forms of avian influenza in wild ducks should not be considered unusual and more ducks which test positive for low pathogenic strains are expected to be encountered. More tests are being conducted by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa to confirm the strain, type, and pathogenicity of the samples. The sample was collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the September teal hunting season as part of the national surveillance effort for the early detection of HP Asian H5N1 avian influenza.

    Wild bird surveillance during the hunting season is just one arm of the state?s avian influenza surveillance efforts. In April 2006, the Illinois Department of Agriculture laboratory in Galesburg became the first lab in the state to receive certification to perform viral testing for avian influenza. The updated status of the lab will significantly cut down the time it takes to determine whether a suspected case of bird flu may in fact be positive.
    "We are in this breathing space before it happens. We do not know how long that breathing space is going to be. But, if we are not all organizing ourselves to get ready and to take action to prepare for a pandemic, then we are squandering an opportunity for our human security"- Dr. David Nabarro