Request for Assistance: Colorado State University Avian Influenza Study

The following is a request from a Colorado State University graduate student to gather feather samples from dead birds.  Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested.

My name is Desiree Parks, I am a MPH/DVM student with Colorado State University working with Dr. Nick Komar of the Fort Collins, CO CDC on a collaborative CDC/USDA project for West Nile Virus/ Avian Influenza surveillance in wild bird populations. This project is based on a feather PCR testing approach aimed at providing a more efficient means for surveillance. We are looking to expand the project outside of Colorado and to recruit more participants. The concept of this project is to facilitate avian mortality surveillance, and make sampling of single dead wild birds more cost effective. If you are interested in participating, we provide a simple collection protocol and specimen envelopes. Sampling is simple to perform, and includes retrieving a handful (about 6) mature breast feathers (avoid immature feathers with bloody pulp) from dead wild birds. These feathers are placed in the specimen envelope and batches of these can be mailed every week or two to Dr. Komar’s lab for analysis. The testing is offered free of charge to the collaborator.  Any positive WNV results would be shared with the submitter and the state WNV coordinator. Any positive Avian Influenza samples would be followed up with a USDA certified lab to determine the serotype and genotype. This lab would be responsible for reporting results.

If you have any questions and/or are interested in participating, please feel free to contact me by phone, at 713-515-0833, or by email at I can also provide you with the sampling protocol so you may look it over.  If you know of additional parties that may be interested, please reply with the referral contact or forward this email to the possible interested parties.

Thank you for your time and have a great day,