UC Davis bird-flu expert calls for changes in early-warning system

December 06, 2007

The international science community is not doing enough to track the many avian influenza viruses that might cause the next pandemic, a UC Davis researcher says in today's issue of the journal Nature.

Global surveillance is critical for identifying and tracking potential pandemic viruses such as highly pathogenic H5N1. But the current surveillance strategy in wild birds is piecemeal and risks missing important virus sources or subtypes, Walter Boyce writes in a commentary.

Boyce, a UC Davis professor of veterinary medicine, is co-director of the $18.5 million Center for Rapid Influenza Surveillance and Research (CRISAR). The center, supported by the National Institutes of Health, is charged with tracking viruses in wild birds in the United States and Asia.

Addressing Nature's worldwide audience, Boyce says scientists must take several steps to catch avian influenza viruses before they catch us:
-end-
The commentary ("Vigilance is not enough") is online at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v450/n7171/full/450791a.html.

About the Wildlife Health Center

The Wildlife Health Center, a program of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, focuses on the health of wildlife, people and the ecosystems they share. More information:

http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/whc/.

About UC Davis

The University of California is one of the world's foremost research and teaching institutions, and UC Davis is the University of California's flagship campus for environmental studies. UC Davis is a global leader in solving problems related to air and water quality; water and land use; agricultural practices; endangered and invasive plants and animals; climate change; resource economics; information technology; and human society and culture. More information: http://www.ucdavis.edu.

Additional information:

News release, April 2, 2007, "UC Davis Wins New National Center for Avian Flu Research"
http://www-news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso"id=8110

Media contact(s):

Walter Boyce, Wildlife Health Center, (530) 752-1401, wmboyce@ucdavis.edu

Sylvia Wright, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-7704, swright@ucdavis.edu

University of California - Davis

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