Through a cooperative agreement, FORT scientist Adrian Farmer and the Mahidol University (MU) in Bangkok, Thailand, are conducting research related to surveillance of avian influenza (H5N1; "AI") in migratory birds. Central Thailand contains sanctuaries for migratory bird species shown to carry highly pathogenic H5N1 strain. Open-billed Storks and Lesser Whistling Ducks—among other migratory birds common in Thailand—have been shown to have the highest AI infection rates and settle in areas where AI outbreaks have occurred in poultry and humans. This spring Dr. Farmer helped MU scientists capture and outfit birds of both species with satellite transmitters to help determine whether individual birds from these populations might contribute to the spread of AI during migration from their wintering grounds in central Thailand to other regions of Asia. The satellite telemetry will also document the migratory paths of these species. Dr. Farmer also made presentations on related work in the U.S. and Argentina, trained staff on downloading and analyzing ARGOS satellite data, and will continue to carry out analyses and related research on bird movements.
For more information contact: Adrian Farmer