News 270 views update:May 12, 2010

Finch eye disease study: clues for AI

Researchers at Cornell University believe that their studies into an eye disease affecting house finches may shed light on how other diseases spread.

The disease has similarities with both avian influenza and AIDS, as they also involve transmission via direct contact, a highly mobile host and zoonosis (where the pathogen jumps species).
The researchers recently received a five-year $2.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) award to continue their work.
The bacterium Mycoplasma gallisepticum jumped species from chickens to house finches in 1994. The pathogen causes a non-fatal respiratory infection in chickens and severe conjunctivitis in house finches, but poses no threat to humans.
The new funding follows an earlier grant of almost $2.5 million for research on house finches and M. gallisepticum, headed by André Dhondt, the Edwin H Morgens Professor of Ornithology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and director of Bird Population Studies at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The grants are from the "Ecology of Infectious Diseases Program", a joint NSF, National Institutes of Health and US Geological Survey program designed to study ecology and infectious diseases.

Editor WorldPoultry

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