USGS Western Ecological Research Center

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Wild Birds and Emerging Diseases: Movements of migratory waterfowl in the Middle East: Identifying at-risk areas for spread of avian influenza into Egypt

Common teal with satellite transmitter attached.
Egypt is located at the intersection of the Black Sea-Mediterranean Flyway and the East Africa-West Asia Flyway and due to spatial overlap in migration pathways is an important site for the potential transmission of avian influenza (AI) between waterfowl. The Highly Pathogenic AI subtype, H5N1 was first detected in Egypt in poultry during 2006 and has subsequently spilled over into human populations. The route of entry of HPAI H5N1 into Egypt remains undetermined, and migratory birds have been suggested as possible dispersers of the virus. 

Project Details

The US Geological Survey (Western Ecological Research Center) in collaboration with the US Naval Medical Research Unit, the Egyptian Ministry of the Environment and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) aim to investigate the migratory ecology and host status of avian influenza amongst waterfowl from wetlands within the Nile Delta. This will contribute valuable information about the connectivity of Egypt with other regions of HPAI H5N1 outbreak and risk of transnational spread of the virus.


The specific objectives of this project include;
1) mapping the migration of waterfowl including Common shelduck, Northern shoveler, Common teal and Northern pintail marked at wintering sites in the Nile Delta;

2) identification of stop-over and breeding areas of marked species;

3) collection of samples to assess the AIV infection status of overwintering waterfowl.

FAO Contact For This Project 
    Scott Newman
    EMPRES Wildlife Unit
    Food & Agriculture Organization, United Nations
    Rome, Italy 00153

USGS Contact For This Project
John Takekawa - Emeritus
(707) 562-2000
San Francisco Bay Estuary Field Station
505 Azuar Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592
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