US tracks bird flu with help from Google
Sophisticated computer imaging is helping the poultry industry
prepare for the potential arrival of the H5N1 bird flu virus in the US later
Commercial poultry flocks, feed mills and processing plants can be pinpointed
by Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, according to Sherrill
Davison, professor of avian medicine at the University of
In the case of a US appearance of the virus, this
information could be used to help define buffer zones to contain the spread of
With the same intention, experts have also been using
Google Earth, combining satellite imagery, maps and the company's search engine.
Google Earth gives extra details including the location of buildings, schools
and roads near large chicken and turkey farms and production
Davison said that the new technology enables a rapid
response and can help to contain any outbreak, by quickly identifying farms in
an affected area.
Davison and colleagues at the University of
Pennsylvania were among the first to develop GIS technology to monitor poultry
flocks in 1998.
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