Alaskan Hunter’s Blood tested for Bird Flu Virus

The blood of 200 Anchorage-area sport hunters who have handled wild fowl in the past two years is to be tested for the H5N1 virus.
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Dr. Michael Bruce, principal investigator for the study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the rresearchers will be searching for the potentially deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu as well as low-pathogenic strains of influenza in the blood collected from the Alaskan hunters.
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“”Some of the birds that fly through Asia fly through Alaska, so we theorized that if anyone is at risk in Alaska, it would be the hunters,” Dr. Bruce said.
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The study involves people from across the state who may have contracted avian influenza by different means, he said. It calls for a sample of 400 subsistence hunters, 200 sport hunters, 75 wildlife biologists and researchers and a control group of 200 people who have not handled wild birds.
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People who have been infected with avian influenza in the past will have developed antibodies that show up in the blood, Bruce said.

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The study — done in partnership with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. — could show experts where people are contracting influenza, what precautions should be taken when handling wild fowl, and how easily the viruses are transmitted to people. The study also seeks to establish the current degree of transmission as a benchmark for future studies, Bruce said.

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“Even if we don’t find any antibodies to any avian influenza, I think it gives us at least a good baseline,” he said.

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Hunters in the Anchorage area — from Girdwood to Wasilla — who have hunted and handled birds in the past two years are eligible to give their blood and answer some questions, a process that will take about 15 minutes. So far, about 80 hunters have given blood and the CDC needs about 120 more.

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Interested?

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Contact the CDC at 729-3400. Participants will be paid $25.

Sources:

James Halpin, writing for Anchorage Daily News

http://www.adn.com/outdoors/story/313474.html

www.farmlandpheasant.com

www.birdflubreakingnews.com

A study of the spread of avian influenza has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seeking the blood of 200 Anchorage-area sport hunters who have handled wild fowl in the past two years.Researchers will be searching for the potentially deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu as well as low-pathogenic strains of influenza, said Dr. Michael Bruce, principal investigator for the study.

The H5N1 strain has not been detected in the United States and Bruce doesn’t expect to find it here. But low-pathogenic strains of bird flu could pop up, and studying how people contract them will help researchers understand the risk factors that led to exposure, he said.

“Some of the birds that fly through Asia fly through Alaska, so we theorized that if anyone is at risk in Alaska, it would be the hunters,” Bruce said.

The study involves people from across the state who may have contracted avian influenza by different means, he said. It calls for a sample of 400 subsistence hunters, 200 sport hunters, 75 wildlife biologists and researchers and a control group of 200 people who have not handled wild birds.

People who have been infected with avian influenza in the past will have developed antibodies that show up in the blood, Bruce said.

The study — done in partnership with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. — could show experts where people are contracting influenza, what precautions should be taken when handling wild fowl, and how easily the viruses are transmitted to people. The study also seeks to establish the current degree of transmission as a benchmark for future studies, Bruce said.

“Even if we don’t find any antibodies to any avian influenza, I think it gives us at least a good baseline,” he said.

Anchorage residents who have hunted and handled birds in the past two years are eligible to give their blood and answer some questions, a process that will take about 15 minutes. So far, about 80 hunters have given blood and the CDC needs 120 more.

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