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Tracking bird flu one poop at a time

Mice can sniff out duck droppings laced with virus

By
7:04pm, August 24, 2010

BOSTON — Duck and goose droppings, the bane of golfers and park visitors, may help scientists track the spread of bird flu — with olfactory assistance from properly trained animals.

Scientists have trained mice to identify the poop of ducks infected with avian influenza, chemical ecologist Bruce Kimball reported August 24 at the American Chemical Society’s fall meeting.

If mice can pick up the scent, it should also be possible to train dogs to track the flu trail, said Kimball, of the National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, Colorado, and the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. “I like to joke that we’re go

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