Working in Mongolia for a health survey of wild bird populations in Mongolia, WCS field vets Drs. William Karesh and Martin Gilbert responded to reports of the avian influenza outbreak in Kovsgol Province near the Russian border from the Mongolian Ministry of Food and Agriculture, which conducted preliminary testing from the wild birds. The highly pathogenic avian flu-H5N1 finding was confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory.
"This is good for humankind," said Dr. David Swayne, director of the USDA Southeast Poultry Laboratory, which was able to grow the virus from the Mongolian samples.
"Nature is the largest, incompletely catalogued library on earth," said Dr. Karesh, director of WCS's Field Veterinary Program. "This is just one more example of the value of protecting the diversity of life on our planet, and how monitoring the health of wild species serves not only to protect them, but also can have huge payoffs for humankind."
The field team, supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (F.A.O.) of the U.N., included personnel from WCS, the Mongolian National Academy of Sciences, the Mongolian Institute of Veterinary Medicine, the State Central Veterinary Laboratory, Ministry of Food and Agriculture Veterinary Department, and the Mongolian Ministry of Health Center for Communicable Diseases with Natural Foci searched fo
Contact: John Delaney
Wildlife Conservation Society