A&M Testing Dead Birds

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Health officials in Austin have been trying to answer what caused more than sixty birds to die Monday morning. They realized they needed help from their colleagues at Texas A&M, who were on the mystery case by Monday afternoon.

Lelve Gayle is the Executive Director of the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory and said there was no time to waste.

"Our main goal is to get a definitive diagnosis on these birds as quickly as possible," Gayle said.

After a necropsy, the animal equivalent of an autopsy, was performed, Gayle said the birds were designated to several different diagnostic sections in the lab.

"These birds will be assigned to toxicology, histopathology , bacteriology, virology, and molecular diagnostic," Gayle said.

By conducting so many tests, they are able to narrow the field of possible causes. And using different scientific concentrations helps them to determine if there is any immediate threat to people and birds.

Gayle said those threats could include, "high consequence diseases such as Avian influenza and Exotic Newcastle disease."

As each specialized test is completed, the results are quickly shared with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Texas Animal Health Commission and if need be, the Texas Department of Health.

"We have a continuous flow of information as we get it," Gayle said. "We don't hold it until we're through."

And should anything out of the ordinary be found, the A&M lab would notify Homeland Security. Gayle estimates that all testing could be completed by Friday.