Cornell steps up bird flu testing program
ITHACA, NY - 9/28/06 - Samples from more than 90 live bird markets in New York City are being routinely tested for the H5 and H7 strains of avian flu, reports Cornell University.
ITHACA, NY - 9/28/06 - Samples from more than 90 live bird markets in New York City are being routinelytested for the H5 and H7 strains of avian flu, reports Cornell University.
"This monitoring is critical due to the emergence of an H5N1 virulent strainof avian flu that has resulted in the largest outbreak of this disease ever known," saidDr. Alfonso Torres, associate dean for public policy at Cornell's veterinarycollege. "This massive outbreak has caused the death or destruction of over150 million birds in Asia and Europe, and the death of 60 percent of the infectedhumans."
Torres, former chief veterinary officer for the United States Department of Agriculture,leads the Animal Health Diagnostic Center, which expanded its role in the surveillanceof zoonotic diseases, which are transmitted naturally between people and animals,including avian flu. In 2005, the laboratory identified Chronic Wasting Diseasein the New York whitetail deer population. Two years ago, researchers at thelaboratory isolated the canine flu virus that was killing dogs in 13 states,including New York.
As reported in DVM Newsmagazine, Cornell received $50 million in new capitalfunding from the State of New York to build a new Animal Health Diagnostic Centerat the College. This grant, supplemented by $30 million from Cornell Universityand other sources, will be used to fund construction of the Center. The 126,000gross square foot Center is expected to be complete in 2010, and will replacethe existing facilities, which were constructed in 1978.
Planning and design for the new facility began with a lead grant from theState of New York in 2004. With its completion in 2010, the new facility willexpand Cornell's veterinary complex to over 1.3 million square feet of education,research, clinical and diagnostic space.