Friday, February 23, 2007

Bird Flu. It's not the birds that migrate

This from the International Herald Tribune:

ROME: Most of the scattered bird flu outbreaks so far this year probably can be traced to illegal or improper trade in poultry, scientists believe. This probably includes recent outbreaks in Nigeria and Egypt as well as the large outbreak on a turkey farm in England.


Last winter, wild migrating birds were deemed the primary culprit in the bird flu infestations that hopscotched across Europe and Africa. Dead swans and ducks were found in many countries, including Austria, France and Italy.


"Many of us at the outset underestimated the role of trade," said Samuel Jutzi, director of Animal Production and Health at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. "The virus is behaving rather differently than last year — it's rather enigmatic."


No outbreaks have been attributed to wild birds so far this season and not a single infected wild bird has been detected in Europe or Africa, despite a heightened surveillance system devised in the wake of the crisis last year.

You can read the rest of the article here

1 comment:

John said...

While there was a lot of talk of wild migrating birds carrying the disease, I think that only one case was definitely tied to wild birds. Pretty much all the major outbreaks were on poultry farms. The talk of wild birds carrying the disease seems to be mostly hype. I worry that the hype may lead to irrational actions like killing off large flocks of migrant waterfowl.