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October 24, 2005

"No area will be immune"

A biology professor at Wright State University in Ohio says it's only a matter of time before H5N1 reaches the US.

Thomas Van't Hof, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of biological sciences and ornithologist who has studied different bird species for many years as part of his research in comparative physiology.

"By knowing the migratory patterns of birds and areas where species overlap while traveling between their breeding sites and winter grounds, one can predict precisely where problems will occur," he explained.

The scientist said birds migrating south from China, where the deadly flu first showed up, likely made contact with species in Bangladesh and Burma that were migrating west through southern India to Turkey. This is how the virus reached Russia and Eastern Europe, and with birds from Europe now migrating south through Turkey to Africa that region will soon be exposed.

Van't Hof said links between Asia and North America may take longer to surface, but this will ultimately take place.

"North American waterfowl and shorebirds will likely have contact with species breeding on the Siberian/Western Arctic tundra, which will ultimately infect bird populations in North America and South America. There is really no populated area of the world that will be immune."


Posted by dymaxion at October 24, 2005 07:45 AM

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