Web Zap*Germs Archive

March 17, 2006

Experts' Q&A on Bird-Flu Spread via Migration

An informative, free-access WSJ article today, in which wildlife and poultry experts answer questions about the spread of H5N1 avian flu via migratory birds. Some interesting clips:
WSJ.COM: What precautions is the [US] chicken industry taking with regards to H5N1?

Mr. Lobb: Every [US] flock is tested before it goes to market, so far they have not found any problems, but we're definitely monitoring for it. And the state governments, in the poultry states, also have aggressive programs to go out there and look for avian influenza. So if it were to occur, we would find it, we would take care of it. The infected flock would be put down. None of those birds would go to market.

WSJ.COM: What if avian influenza were somehow to make it into [US] commercial flocks? How would it manifest itself to American consumers?

Mr. Lobb: This should not be an issue for consumers or ordinary citizens. And anybody who has to deal with, you know, sick birds would be taking the obviously bio-security precautions. I mean in Thailand they went out and rounded up tens of millions of birds and destroyed them and as far as we know none of the workers involved in those operations got sick. So, it is not easy to catch...We're already taking protective bio-security precautions on the farms, if we had an outbreak then the individuals involved would use all the necessary precautions. None of those birds would go to market. There's just not going to be any exposure of ordinary citizens.

WSJ.COM: If a duck dies of H5N1 in Alaska, how would this affect the life of an average American?

Dr. Morgan: If we find a duck that is positive, that should not be a cause for alarm … because as I said, that's considered to be early detection. We would do everything we could to make certain that we have an understanding about that particularly virus...our industries would be very cognizant as would other folks, that we have a handle on it...Hopefully our friends in the media will understand that and explain our processes so that people won't be alarmed by a find like that.
I love the last comment, "Hopefully our friends in the media will understand that...." Fat chance, and Dr. Morgan knows it. Instead, expect a full-court press -- a media-generated "firestorm" (dontcha just love those?) complete with special reports, dramatic music, bold TV logos -- and breathless, concerned reporters wearing biohazard suits, reporting from the site of the first H5N1 bird kill and doing their jobs, doing their best, to terrify everyone.

I think the MSM have been waiting impatiently, for two years, for the virus to reach the USA -- just to give it the full disaster treatment. No MSM type is going to be "understanding," "explain our processes" and exhibit calm restraint. Once a duck, goose or chicken tests positive to H5N1 on American soil, Let The Games Begin!


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