Researchers in Alaska say the state could be a breeding ground for mutant strains of avian influenza. Politico reports that scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey recently tested 1,000 wild birds in western Alaska and found genetic mixing of Asian and North American flu strains.
The results were published in a science journal last month. While the researchers only found low pathogenic viruses, the findings still pose a concern to poultry producers. Low pathogenic viruses cannot spread to poultry, however, as the researchers demonstrate, some fear dangerous strains of high-path avian influenza from Asia could mix with similar North American strains, creating a new, more devastating strain of the virus.