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Friday, October 28, 2005

Avian influenza stories

I've recently been quoted in a couple avian influenza stories, the latest on the National Geographic website.

That article slightly overstates the risk of H5N1 transmission from wild birds in Africa by stating that "many" birds that may carry H5N1 are now arriving in Africa. More correctly, "some" birds that may carry H5N1 are now arriving in Africa. While many birds "may" have the virus (we need more testing), only a few birds nesting in central Asia (where the virus was found in wild birds this summer) make it all the way to sub-Saharan Africa. Of the species found infected in Asia that make it to Africa, the most likely candidate for virus transmission may be Garganey (see my post below)--though still no direct evidence that this species is carrying the virus out of Asia.

At the end of this article, Gary Allport did a good job describing the migration and potential threat of transmission from wild Mallards.

The second article is a press release put out by the Wild Bird Feeding Industry. Lots of interesting info there for people worried about getting bird flu from bird feeders or birds in their backyards. The skinny on that is: no real threat right now, but wash up after potentially coming into contact with bird droppings.

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