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Colorado 's Avian Disease Surveillance Program has Bird Flu Sampling Kits Available to Trained Professionals
The Colorado Avian Disease Surveillance Program has developed avian flu sample collection kits available for the first time so professionals, including veterinarians and animal control officers, can collect samples from birds to test for the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza.
The program, housed in the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (D-Lab), will use the kits to enhance the state's current testing for the disease. Avian disease surveillance professionals must currently travel across the state to collect testing samples from birds for flu.
The testing procedure for avian flu consists of obtaining mouth and cloacal swabs Samples obtained with the kits will be sent back to the D-Lab for testing. The kits must be administered by a trained professional to be accurate, so they are not available to the general public. The state's avian disease professionals also will offer training to professionals to administer the tests. The kits are funded by the Colorado Avian Disease Surveillance Program, a cooperative program including the D-Lab, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Professionals can order a free test kit by calling Dr. Kristy Pabilonia, coordinator of the Colorado Avian Disease Surveillance Program, at 970-297-4109, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals who want to request that their domestic birds be tested for avian flu should contact Dr. Pabilonia. Individuals who want to report a dead bird should call the Colorado Help Line at 877-462-2911.
"Getting statewide samples is an important part of Colorado State University's testing, and these sampling kits will be a tremendous help to their effort," said Dr. Keith Roehr, Assistant State Veterinarian with the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
More general information about the state's avian surveillance system and specific information for bird owners, veterinarians and the public is available at www.coloradobirdhealth.org.