Massacre of Wild Birds no solution to Bird-Flu – Avian Flu Task Force Summit.

Massacre of Wild Birds no solution to Bird-Flu – Avian Flu Task Force Summit

It apparently took more than 30 experts, from 19 countries, to come to the conclusion, that culls of wild birds are not an answer to the outbreaks of avian flu.

You would think that the above was obvious to every one, considering that:

1. It is not practical, or even possible to “cull” the entire population of wild birds suspected of carrying the H5N1 virus.

2. Since the H5N1 virus has also been found in all kinds of mammals (in Rats, Pigs, Goats and even Tigers!) the concept of culling-our-way-out of the bird-flu problem is deeply flawed.  

So it came to pass, that during a “Summit” (I love these Bird-Flu summits, popping up every where now!) held this week in Aviemore, by the Avian Flu Task Force under the UN international convention on migratory species, expert scientists from 19 countries, condemned culls of wild birds as a way of tackling outbreaks of avian flu.

The scientists said, that while wild birds have been infected in some cases, domestic birds, the poultry industry and the trade in live and dead poultry hold the key roles in limiting any spread of the disease in future.

The scientists reminded us all, that indiscriminate culling of wild birds is contrary to the recommendations of many international organisations and intergovernmental conservation treaties.

They warned that the attempts to eliminate avian flu in wild bird populations through culls, may exacerbate the problem by causing further dispersion of infected birds.

Here is a link to the above news item in The Scotsman:


“H5N1 avian influenza virus will continue to spread” United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today said H5N1 avian influenza virus is entrenched in some places and will continue to spread, despite improved control efforts.

Czech, German Bird Flu Have Same OriginAs if to underscore the message, new poultry outbreaks were reported today in the Czech Republic and Bangladesh, and more wild birds were reported infected in Germany.

Joseph Domenech, the FAO’s chief veterinary officer, said the response to the virus has improved significantly over the past 3 years, but it remains entrenched in several countries and will continue to spread, according to an FAO news release.

Domenech spoke at a press conference in Rome on the first day of the Technical Meeting on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and Human H5N1 Infection, which continues through Jun 29. The meeting was organized by the FAO and several other international agencies.

He said that except in Egypt and Indonesia, human H5N1 cases have been very sporadic. “This achievement is the most important demonstration of the effects of worldwide efforts to contain the H5N1 virus,” he said.

In the approximately 15 countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East where the virus has cropped up in the past 6 months, it was rapidly detected and eliminated or controlled, Domenech said.

“Most countries have been very open about new outbreaks,” he said. “They are better prepared today and have improved their response systems.”

But Domenech cited the recent H5N1 outbreaks in birds in Bangladesh, Ghana, Togo, the Czech Republic, and Germany as illustrations of the need to shun complacency. The threat of a human flu pandemic can’t be ruled out as long as the disease persists in poultry, he said.

He said containment and eradication of the virus will demand a long-term financial and political commitment, especially in the face of the “high risk poultry production and marketing practices that still continue in many countries.” For example, Indonesia has more than 13,000 live poultry markets where birds from different places are brought together.

Domenech also called for increased monitoring of the virus, especially in countries that vaccinate poultry.

“The H5N1 virus is not stable and keeps constantly changing. On one occasion in China last year a new virus strain appeared with different immunologic characteristics which made it necessary to modify vaccines used in the region concerned,” he said. “This emergence of a new strain may have happened again more recently in Indonesia.”

Here is the link to the full article by CIDRAP:

Another Child in Java Indonesia is hospitalized with bird flu-like symptoms.

ANTARA is reporting that a nine-year-old child in Tulungagung, East Java, is suspected of having been infected with the bird flu virus.

The child, identified by its initials “EN” from Bungur, Karangrejo, is currently being treated at a local state hospital. The hospital`s spokesman, Triwidyono Agus Basuki, said here on Friday the child`s conditon was worsening.

“We cannot as yet tell if the symptoms shown by the patient are really of birdflu because we have just sent samples of its blood to Surabaya for examination,” he said.

He said EN was admitted to the hospital on Thursday night with symptoms associated with bird flu.

Here is a link to the ANTARA news item:

Get Ready for a Bird-Flu outbreak “or it may be too late” says the Irish Agriculture Minister.

The Irish Agriculture Minister Mary Coughlan warned today, that Ireland must be in state of readiness for a potential outbreak of bird flu here, after reports of incidences of the H5N1 strain of the virus in both Germany and the Czech Republic in recent days.

Mary Upton TD“Ireland must be in a state of high alert” she said, adding that a number of immediate steps must be taken by the Government to reassure the public that everything possible is being done to prepare for the arrival of avian flu.

The Irish Agriculture Minister reminded us that “..this virus respects no borders and the need for extreme vigilance and all measures necessary to prevent its spread to Ireland is the immediate priority. This must include increased surveillance at ports and airports”.”We must carry out an immediate emergency simulation of how the country will deal with the arrival of bird flu. We should establish a biosecurity unit without further delay so that we can handle and contain the virus when and if it arrives.” said the Minister. 

She suggested that an overall figurehead should be appointed immediately to co-ordinate the national response to the threat.

Minister Coughlan added a chilling note to her speech by saying:

“If the Government procrastinates, it may be too late. By that time the virus will have made the short journey to Ireland and we will be in the midst of a national crisis.”

Vietnam spending Millions of Dollars for Bird-Flu-free status.

Vietnam was one of the first countries to be infested with the Bird-Flu virus. There were 3 human Bird-Flu fatalities Back in 2003, followed by 20 deaths in 2004 and 19 deaths resulting from the H5N1 virus in 2005.

During the entire 2006 however, there were no human fatalities, even though there were at least 4 cases of human infection of the virus.

Vietnam was praised around the world for its apparent victory over the H5N1 virus and was held out as a model for other countries in the region to follow.

The year 2007 brought the Bird-Flu back in Vietnam with one human fatality and a growing number of the cases of human infection.

The country is fighting hard to contain the virus and has spent 125 billion VND (US$7.8 million) this year on vaccines against bird flu, according to Bui Quang Anh, Head of the Veterinary Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

A summer outbreak of bird flu in Germany was confirmed Tuesday to have spread to a second state, with three swans killed by the deadly form of avian influenza in a small town close to Leipzig.

The MARD has also warned provinces of the high risk of outbreaks in July, especially around the Mekong delta.

MARD Deputy Minister Bui Ba Bong urged relevant agencies to focus on water fowl and work on immediate plans to vaccinate newly-hatched ducks in a bid to tighten control over the spread of infection.

It is surprising therefore that after going through all of the above, the Vietnamese Authorities are still trying to declare some of it’s provinces Bird-Flu-Free, simply because there have not been any further infections for a few weeks!

You would think that the powers-that-be in Vietnam, one of the first Bird-Flu infested countries in the world, would know better. 

Here is a news item related to the above from Bernama:

The new Four “Horsemen” of the Apocalypse.

Here is a cool pic of the new Four “Horsemen” of the Apocalypse.

Credit for the above to Tim, Hiroaki & Masami – members of the Bird-Flu (punk/pop/ska/rock) band, based in Nagoya, Japan

A new Bird-Flu victim in Bird-Flu-Free Vietnam?

A man from Bac Lieu province has been hospitalized with symptoms of bird flu after cooking and eating a duck which had died allegedly of bird flu.  

What Are Symptoms Of Bird FluThe 40-year-old man, who is now in the Tropical Disease Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, has been suffering from severe respiratory problems in the last few days.

He works for a farmer named Tran Van Thong who raises 350 ducklings, some of which died recently.

The province’s animal health authorities said three flocks of ducks in Bac Lieu’s Hong Dan district had died in the last few days with bird flu symptoms.They had been raised in the neighboring Soc Trang province. The man and the dead ducks are being tested for the H5N1 strain of bird flu.

This is at a time when the authourities in Vietnam are trying to declare as many of the provinces of Vietnam Bird-Flu-Free as they can!

Four provinces in Vietnam (Outbreaks hit poultry in 16 provinces) have reported no new outbreaks for over three weeks and are thus considered free of the disease.

It is suggested by some that the panic to declare the country “Partially” Bird-Flu-Free is due to the commercial pressures from the Tuorism and the Poultry Export Iindustries.

In fact, the Head of the Vietnam’s Veterinary Department, of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), Bui Quang Anh, has warned of the possibility of bird flu reoccurring in H5N1 virus-free localities.

At the conference of the National Steering Committee for Bird Flu Prevention and Control on June 26, Anh said the spread of the disease is in a tenuous situation in some localities such as Hai Phong city, and Bac Giang and Thai Binh northern provinces.

“The very concept of any country (let alone a country right in the middle of the most effected Bird-Flu region in the world) declaring itself free from any infection of the H5N1 virus is ludecrous” say the critics of this policy.

“How can the athourities know that there is NO infection in the wild population of the birds and even mammels such as cats, pigs, dogs and more?” they ask.

Here are the source news links for the above post: