A new research suggests that monitoring the migration routes of wild birds could provide early warning of potential bird flu outbreaks.
The research conducted by 32 institutions worldwide showed migrating birds could help spread deadly strains of avian flu.
This development reinforces the importance of maintaining strict exclusion areas around poultry farms to keep wild birds out.
Scientists analyzed migration patterns of wild birds found to be infected with the H5N8 virus, a subtype of bird flu that spread around the world following outbreaks in South Korea in early 2014. The team then compared the genetic code of viruses isolated from infected birds collected from 16 different countries.
Their findings revealed that H5N8 was most likely carried by long-distance flights of infected migrating wild birds from Asia to Europe and North America via their breeding grounds in the Arctic.