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Local avian disease expert remains vigilant amid bird flu outbreaks in other states

Free-range chickens lay eggs for Sauder's Quality Eggs in Pennsylvania.
Dan Charles
FILE - Free-range chickens in Pennsylvania.

The discovery of new cases of bird flu in wild birds in Alaska prompted The Conversation to reach out to avian infectious disease specialist Thierry Work at the National Wildlife Health Center, Honolulu Field Station. He is a biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and was involved in the last outbreak of avian influenza back in 2006.

You may not be aware of the huge surveillance effort that was underway for about four years. Work says they swabbed thousands of birds looking for any possible cases in Hawaiʻi back then — and found none. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the public is asked to report any unusual bird die-off or strange behavior in waterfowl, like swimming in circles or jerky neck movements. So far the avian flu has been found in 35 states.

This interview aired on The Conversation on May 18, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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