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If it Acts like a Duck and Walks Like a Duck it Could be a Sick Penguin…

August 18, 2014

admirality bay 10-14-12d


WASHINGTON, DC – May 6, 2014 – An international team of researchers has, for the first time, identified an avian influenza virus in a group of Adélie penguins from Antarctica. The virus, found to be unlike any other circulating avian flu, is described in a study published this week in mBio®, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.


Virus triggered by RNA/DNA damage from electromagnetic radiation

While other research groups have taken blood samples from penguins before and detected influenza antibodies, no one had detected actual live influenza virus in penguins or other birds in Antarctica previously, says study author and Associate Professor Aeron Hurt, PhD, a senior research scientist at the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, Australia.

A zodiac pulls up along side the Seabourn Quest in Admiralty Bay, Antarctica.

Admirality Bay Cruise Ship With Approx 60,000 Watts of Pulsed Microwave Radars.

For the study, Hurt and colleagues collected swabs from the windpipes and posterior openings of 301 Adélie penguins, and blood from 270 of those penguins, from two locations on the Antarctic Peninsula: Admiralty Bay and Rada Covadonga. The samples were collected during January and February 2013.


A virus amongst the penguins

Dr Gardner and her colleagues suggested that because Auster Rookery is relatively close to Mawson station, the penguins may have been exposed to this common poultry disease through contact with humans or their cargo. In support of this theory, they found no antibodies to IBDV in adult Adélie penguins from Edmonson Point – a more remote colony in the Ross Sea.

However, it is difficult to reconcile that a high percentage of emperor penguin chicks are exposed to IBDV through human contact when you look at their natural history. Emperor penguin colonies live on floating sea ice, and their eggs hatch in the middle of winter, when there is no transport of goods from outside the continent and few personnel are at Mawson station. During the summer months, when most human activity occurs, the penguins are away at sea. In many years the ice from the colony area melts completely, so there is no environment in which the virus can live.

davis base

Mawson Station, Antarctica. Lot’s of electromagnetic transmitters causing viruses in surrounding penguins and other birds



From → Biology, Geophysics

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