Vol.3 No.3 2010
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Research paper−224−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.3 No.3 pp.224-233 (Dec. 2010) For the measures against bird flu infection at the poultry farm, if the period from infection to death is 1~2 days due to extremely strong virus toxicity, the outbreak can be detected in a relatively short time because the abnormal increase in bird deaths will be obvious and the farmers are obligated to report such abnormality. However, as shown in Fig. 7, strong toxicity means strong transmissiveness, and it is highly likely that the infection has spread widely by the time the situation becomes visible. This not only increases the loss of business but also is dangerous to the farmers themselves. On the other hand, if the toxicity is not strong, it may be difficult to tell it apart from other factors, and quick report may not be done if the number of bird deaths is within the range that does not obligate reporting. Moreover, the poultry farms have been scaling up rapidly in recent years, and along with the problems of aging farmers and lack of farmhands, signs of failing health among chickens that can normally be detected may be missed. It is desirable to introduce a technology that allows high-level monitoring of the health of chicken population, for the early discovery of bird flu outbreak from the perspective of maintaining public health and food safety, as well as increasing productivity.With this background, this study is an attempt to develop a network system that monitors the health of the chickens at the poultry farms as shown in Fig. 1. Basically, this is a system where the wireless sensor nodes are attached to some percentage of chickens, or in the future to all chickens, to monitor their activity levels and body temperature, and to manage their health conditions. For example, if a node detects abnormal body temperature, the temperature change pattern can be referenced to the accumulated experimental data to automatically determine the possibility of bird flu infection, 1 IntroductionThe outbreak and pandemic of influenza (influenza A virus subtype H1N1) in 2009 is still fresh in our memory. There is now a rising concern for a new flu that may possess strong toxicity, through the reassortment and mutation of the avian influenza subtype H5N1 virus and the human influenza virus. According to the estimate by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the death toll in Japan may reach maximum 640,000 people in case of a pandemic equivalent to the Spanish flu in 1918. Around the world, mainly in Asia, the outbreaks of bird flu and infection of humans have been confirmed. In Japan, the outbreaks of avian influenza subtype H5N1 were observed in Kyoto and Yamaguchi in January 2004 and in Miyazaki and Okayama in January to February 2007, and the virus remains a major threat to the safety of the humankind.There are basically four measures that can be taken by the poultry farms against bird flu:1) Strengthen measures to prevent virus invasion by enhancing hygienic control and wild bird control,2) Strengthen surveillance monitoring at the farms,3) Speed up diagnosis, and4) Engage in early eradication of the virus through quarantine measures at affected farms.The National Institute of Animal Health (NIAH) has been actively conducting the research for 3), or the development of genetic testing to detect the gene of the diversified bird flu virus. The research teams led by AIST are working on the development of 2), or the surveillance system for the farms.- A health monitoring system for chickens by using wireless sensors -Toshihiro Itoh*, Takashi Masuda and Kenji TsukamotoResearch Center for Ubiquitous MEMS and Micro Engineering, AIST Tsukuba East, 1-2-1 Namiki, Tsukuba 305-8564, Japan*E-mail : Original manuscript received March 29, 2010, Revisions received May 24, 2010, Accepted May 25, 2010 We have been developing wireless sensor nodes for monitoring animal health and networks that care animal groups. “Animal Watch Sensors” - miniaturized, light, flexible and maintenance-free sensor nodes, will be utilized for the early detection of avian influenza outbreaks in poultry farms to defend human beings from an influenza pandemic. Key technologies to realize the sensor network system are ultra low power “event-driven” sensor nodes and a direct-conversion type receiver system for ultra short message communication. These technologies are developed by the integration of MEMS technology, life science and information technology.Development of a sensor system for animal watching to keep human health and food safetyKeywords : Wireless sensor nodes, sensor network, digital MEMS, event-driven, avian influenza[Translation from Synthesiology, Vol.3, No.3, p.231-240 (2010)]

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