- Press Release Distribution

Avian flu detected in New York City wild birds

( Washington, D.C.— May 15, 2024—A small number of New York City wild birds carry highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Virology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology. The work highlights that the interface between animals and humans that may give rise to zoonotic infections or even pandemics is not limited to rural environments and commercial poultry operations, but extends into urban centers.


“To my knowledge, this is the first large-scale U.S. study of avian influenza in an urban area, and the first with active community involvement,” said study co-author Christine Marizzi, PhD, principal investigator of the New York City Virus Hunters (NYCVH) Program, and BioBus director of community science, Harlem, New York City. “Birds are key to finding out which influenza and other avian viruses are circulating in the New York City area, as well as important for understanding which ones can be dangerous to both other birds and humans. And we need more eyes on the ground—that's why community involvement is really critical.”


The study came out of a program to monitor wild birds, which is a partnership between BioBus, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Wild Bird Fund. Through the program, local high school students partake in the research and communication efforts as paid interns under expert mentorship. Wearing appropriate protective gear, the students collect bird fecal samples in urban parks and green spaces. Additional samples from wild urban birds are submitted to the study by local animal rehabilitation centers such as the Wild Bird Fund and Animal Care Centers of New York. Students then help screen all samples in the Krammer laboratory at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai for viruses.


In the study, the NYCVH collected and screened 1927 samples between January 2022 and November 2023 and picked up the H5N1 signal by detecting it in 6 city birds representing 4 different species. All the positive samples came from the urban wildlife rehabilitation centers, stressing the critical role such centers can play in viral surveillance. By comparing the genetic makeup of the samples to each other and other available H5N1 viruses in a public database, the researchers found that they were slightly different and belonged to 2 different genotypes, which are both a mix of Eurasian H5N1 clade virus and local North American avian influenza viruses. New York City is a popular stopover location for migrating wild birds during their remarkable journey.


“It is important to mention that, because we found H5N1 in city birds, this does not signal the start of a human influenza pandemic. We know that H5N1 has been around in New York City for about 2 years and there have been no human cases reported,” Marizzi said.


Marizzi said that in their outreach, they spread awareness about H5N1 in city birds and provide information about what people can do to protect themselves. “It's smart to stay alert and stay away from wildlife. This also includes preventing your pets from getting in close contact with wildlife,” said Marizzi. If one must handle wildlife, it is important to always use safe practices any time when handling a sick or injured bird or other animals.




The American Society for Microbiology is one of the largest professional societies dedicated to the life sciences and is composed of 36,000 scientists and health practitioners. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.


ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications, educational opportunities and advocacy efforts. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.



New campaign aims to empower Asian American communities with lifesaving CPR skills

DALLAS, May 15, 2024 — Despite strides in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training, consumer research from the American Heart Association reveals only 1 in 4 Asian American individuals are confident they could correctly perform Hands-Only CPR, compared with a comparable confidence rate of more 1/3 of the general population. The same survey showed nearly 70% of Asian American adults are hesitant to perform Hands-Only CPR because they are worried they will hurt the person who has suffered ...

Repurposed beer yeast may offer a cost-effective way to remove lead from water

Repurposed beer yeast may offer a cost-effective way to remove lead from water
CAMBRIDGE, MA – Every year, beer breweries generate and discard thousands of tons of surplus yeast. Researchers from MIT and Georgia Tech have now come up with a way to repurpose that yeast to absorb lead from contaminated water. Through a process called biosorption, yeast can quickly absorb even trace amounts of lead and other heavy metals from water. The researchers showed that they could package the yeast inside hydrogel capsules to create a filter that removes lead from water. Because the yeast cells are encapsulated, they can be easily removed from the water once it’s ready ...

NFCR CEO Dr. Sujuan Ba honored at AAPI Women's Gala 2024

The National Foundation for Cancer Research proudly announces that our CEO, Dr. Sujuan Ba, was honored as one of the AAPI Women Leaders at the AAPI Women's Gala 2024 on May 14th in New York City.  This prestigious event was hosted by The Serica Initiative to spotlight the outstanding achievements and contributions of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women who are breaking barriers and making impacts in many sectors, enriching and adding value to our society. This 8th year's gala, themed "Resilience and Perseverance," honored Dr. Ba for her exemplary leadership at NFCR and other organizations she is part of and her ...

Climate change is most prominent threat to pollinators, CABI Reviews paper finds

A paper published in the CABI Reviews journal has found that climate change is the most prominent threat to pollinators – such as bumblebees, wasps, and butterflies – who are essential for biodiversity conservation, crop yields and food security. The research, which is entitled ‘What are the main reasons for the world-wide decline in pollinator populations?’, suggests that many of the threats to pollinators result from human activities. Pollinator populations are declining worldwide and 85% of flowering plant species and 87 of the leading global crops rely on pollinators for seed production. The decline of ...

New study links protein secreted by blood vessels to drug-resistant cancer

New study links protein secreted by blood vessels to drug-resistant cancer
Cancer is a leading cause of death globally. One of the primary reasons why cancer is such a deadly disease is the ability of cancer cells to become drug-resistant. After decades of medical research, scientists came to understand that malignant tumors often harbor a special population of cells called cancer stem cells (CSCs). Much like normal stem cells, CSCs can self-renew and differentiate into various cell types within a tumor, playing important roles not only in tumor growth and metastasis but also in the development of drug resistance.   Unfortunately, developing therapies targeting CSCs directly ...

Exploring the mechanism behind drug eruptions in the skin

Exploring the mechanism behind drug eruptions in the skin
Although medications can often help patients find a cure or respite from their condition, millions of people worldwide suffer from unpredictable drug toxicities every year. In particular, drug eruptions which manifest through symptoms such as redness, blisters, and itching on the skin, are quite common. Severe drug eruptions can become life-threatening and can have long-lasting consequences. Thus, understanding how and why drug eruptions occur is an important area of research in medical science. To this end, previous studies have identified specific variants of certain genes as potential causal agents of drug eruptions. Scientists believe that ...

Longer sprint intervals can improve muscle oxygen utilization compared to shorter intervals

Longer sprint intervals can improve muscle oxygen utilization compared to shorter intervals
Physical activities like jogging, walking, cycling, and sprinting are activities known to engage the musculoskeletal system and result in the utilization of energy. Sprint interval training (SIT) is a type of sprinting exercise that involves cycles of intense exercise followed by a short duration of rest. How the durations of exercise and rest are structured can affect the impact of SIT on physiological responses. In recent years, the field of sports physiology has witnessed increased interest in optimizing SIT protocols. This surge can enhance the recognition of SIT’s efficacy in improving athletic performance and overall well-being, highlighting its versatility as a tool ...

Fighting fat and inflammation: Scientists develop powerful new compounds

Fighting fat and inflammation: Scientists develop powerful new compounds
Modified derivatives of natural products have led to significant therapeutic advances and commercial success in recent times. Menthol is a naturally occurring cyclic monoterpene alcohol found in various plants, particularly in members of the mint family such as peppermint and spearmint. It is a common ingredient found in a wide range of confectionaries, chewing gums and oral care products. Interestingly, menthol also has high medicinal value due to its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effects. In a recent study, a team of researchers led by Professor Gen-ichiro Arimura ...

New cardiac research will save women’s lives by improving detection of heart failure

Peer-reviewed – Observational Study - People  An important new study has advanced how heart failure is detected in women – meaning more female patients can be diagnosed and at an earlier stage.  Researchers led by teams from the Universities of East Anglia (UEA), Sheffield and Leeds, have been able to fine-tune how magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to detect heart failure in women’s hearts, making it more accurate.  Lead author Dr Pankaj Garg, of the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School and a consultant cardiologist at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said: “By refining the method for women ...

Polyglycerol coating: A breakthrough in safer nanoparticle environmental remediation

Polyglycerol coating: A breakthrough in safer nanoparticle environmental remediation
Nanoparticles (NPs) are often used to reduce environmental pollution by targeting harmful chemicals in soil and water that are released by industrial and agricultural activities. These NPs are engineered to absorb, degrade, or neutralize these pollutants, providing a potential solution to environmental contamination. However, when released into the environment, they can be consumed by organisms and transferred through the food chain, resulting in widespread toxicity. To address this issue, a research ...


12.5, the 1st Impact Factor of COMMTR released!

Circadian clock impact on cluster headaches funded by $2.4M NIH grant for UTHealth Houston research

Study identifies first drug therapy for sleep apnea

How old is your bone marrow?

Boosting biodiversity without hurting local economies

ChatGPT is biased against resumes with credentials that imply a disability — but it can improve

Simple test for flu could improve diagnosis and surveillance

UT Health San Antonio researcher awarded five-year, $2.53 million NIH grant to study alcohol-assisted liver disease

Giving pre-med students hands-on clinical training

CAMH research suggests potential targets for prevention and early identification of psychotic disorders

Mapping the heart to prevent damage caused by a heart attack

Study challenges popular idea that Easter islanders committed ‘ecocide’

Chilling discovery: Study reveals evolution of human cold and menthol sensing protein, offering hope for future non-addictive pain therapies.

Elena Beccalli, new rector of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, takes office on 1st July

Pacific Northwest Research Institute uncovers hidden DNA mechanisms of rare genetic diseases

Empowering older adults: Wearable tech made easier with personalized support

Pennington Biomedical researchers partner on award-winning Long Covid study

Cooling ‘blood oranges’ could make them even healthier – a bonus for consumers

Body image and overall health found important to the sexual health of older gay men, according to new studies

Lab-grown muscles reveal mysteries of rare muscle diseases

Primary hepatic angiosarcoma: Treatment options for a rare tumor

Research finds causal evidence tying cerebral small-vessel disease to Alzheimer’s, dementia

Navigating the Pyrocene: Recent Cell Press papers on managing fire risk

Restoring the Great Salt Lake would have environmental justice as well as ecological benefits

Cannabis, tobacco use, and COVID-19 outcomes

A 5:2 intermittent fasting meal replacement diet and glycemic control for adults with diabetes

Scientists document self-propelling oxygen decline in the oceans

Activating molecular target reverses multiple hallmarks of aging

Cannabis use tied to increased risk of severe COVID-19

How to make ageing a ‘fairer game’ for all wormkind

[] Avian flu detected in New York City wild birds