The role of Tour du Valat
Research and surveys in the Camargue
Avian influenza is monitored by two coordinated teams in the Camargue.
- Since 2003, the Tour du Valat, along with the Pasteur Institute and the GEMI-CNRS, has conducted a long term program, studying all avian influenza strains spread among wild birds.
- In the same way, the Direction of Agriculture has asked a national network to survey the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, conducted by the sanitary watch unit of the ONCFS.
Two monitoring methods are used:
- Capture of wild ducks during wintering (from September to March) and other birds (passeriformes, gulls) during migration (from March to June).
- Sampling of droppings from hunted birds, as these are the main mode of transmission – the virus infects the intestine cells.
About ten samples are analysed weekly during winter and spring. These thousands of samples taken in the Camargue and analysed by the Pasteur Institute have proved to be negative regarding the H5N1 virus.