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Friday, March 31, 2006

Bird Flu Misinformation

Let me just say it like this...our political leaders and many in the media are either sadly misinformed, or they are playing politics with bird flu. Latest Reuters story (here) continues the mistaken notion that H5N1 avian influenza is inevitably going to come to the US via migratory birds this year.

If you ever hear this reported in the news, or from your political leaders, you should ask them:

1) What evidence do you have that wild birds are carrying this virus and spreading it to each other? Which species and in which locations?

2) Which birds that cross over to America from the Old World are carrying this virus?

3) How easily can wild birds spread the virus to each other?

4) Can birds migrate thousands of miles while carrying this virus?

5) Why is it more likely that wild birds will bring the virus here, than the possibility that it will come in on the shoes, luggage, or baggage of one of the millions of travelers who fly to America after having spent time in infected countries--or through legal or illegal shipments of poultry or poultry products?

H5N1 is potentially a major threat, but for now, it is mostly a threat if you are a chicken or a chicken farmer who could lose your livelihood. Its good to be following the spread of this virus, but we have a lot more studying to do before we can make any categorical statements about it--like that it is coming to America on wild birds and there's nothing we can do about it.

2 comments:

Nuthatch said...

I saw this same article and moaned out loud. I'll be posting on this next week.

Kalamazoo Kid said...

Dead birds cant fly, a sick birds cant fly far.

Who stands to profit from all this? The pharamaceutical companies and the corporate hatcheries.

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