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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bird Flu and Chicken Manure

Latest buzz in the bird conservation community monitoring bird flu is the possibility that the H5N1 virus is being spread to wild birds through the practice of feeding farmed fish on chicken manure. Apparently, this "integrated fish farming" is a fairly common practice promoted by the UN FAO, and could be a significant risk-factor in spreading viruses from poultry to wild waterfowl. There is a large state-owned fish farm on the south shore of Qinghai Lake in China, where there was a large bar-headed goose and other bird die-off due to H5N1 avian influenza this year. Researchers are trying to find out more about the aquaculture practices there to see if there might be a link between the farming operation and the local bird flu outbreak.

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