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Avian influenza in Bangladesh: the role of migratory birds in the transmission of disease


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Since 2005, when the highly-pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 started spreading across the globe, researchers have been faced with the question how the virus can spread across entire continents so quickly: does the virus travel through trade with poultry and products, or does it hitch-hike with migratory birds? Jonas Waldenström, professor in Disease Ecology, and Mariëlle van Toor, postdoctoral fellow in Ecology at Linnaeus University, have now been granted SEK 3.5 million by the Swedish Research Council for the project "Avian influenza in Bangladesh: the role of wild waterfowl in disease transmission." In collaboration with researchers in Bangladesh, they will gather and analyse large quantities of data on how the transmission of viruses takes place. They will capture wild dabbling ducks and equip them with small GPS/GSM transmitters that record location and other sensory information with high accuracy. The GPS transmitter is charged with the help of solar cells and data is transmitted via the mobile phone network so that the ducks always can be monitored by the research team. This will allow the researchers to study the birds' movements day and night in close to real-time.

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