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OSU vet lab takes a role in diagnosing flu killing California condors

It took a tremendous effort to keep California condors from sliding into extinction. All the known surviving birds were collected long ago for a captive breeding program to allow the condor to be reintroduced.

The project worked and has been expanded over time: the Yurok Tribe now leads a project bringing condors back to the Redwoods. But condors in Arizona have been falling ill to avian flu in recent months, raising concerns that the more northerly populations could eventually be infected as well.

The Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Oregon State University has been involved in identifying what's been killing the birds. Kurt Williams is director of the lab and our guest.

Afterword: Kurt contacted us later in the day to say he misspoke, ALL of the Arizona condors were positive for "HPAI [Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza]
and that this diagnosis was off of tissues collected from the dead birds – not swabs. Swabs came from living birds in the Oregon Zoo and AZ as well."

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily news program focused on issues, people and events across Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the program's senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.