(AP) - The University of Minnesota is one of six universities and medical centers chosen by the federal government to help lead research efforts into preventing an influenza pandemic.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will spend $23 million a year for the next seven years to establish six Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance.
Each of the six centers will have a different focus on researching how flu viruses evolve and adapt.
They'll also identify factors that determine whether a virus causes mild illness or death, and they'll determine the prevalence of bird flu in animals that come in close contact with people. The six centers will also track influenza in animals and people.
The focus at the University of Minnesota will be conducting international and domestic animal flu surveillance covering all major domestic flight paths of migratory birds.
The U also will carry out a human influenza surveillance study in Thailand, and will monitor U.S. agricultural workers who work with swine.
The goal of the newly created centers is to provide the federal government with important information to inform public health strategies for controlling and lessening the impact of seasonal influenza as well as an influenza pandemic.
The other five centers are St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis; the University of California at Los Angeles; Emory University, Atlanta; Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City; and the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)