Sunday, June 03, 2007

June 3 Flu Update

The flu continues to spread in Vietnam.

Thailand is taking monitoring more seriously.

Lebanon, PA, is holding local pandemic flu meetings.

Bangladesh has secured $37M for its bird flu program from the World Bank.

Are vets with an avian practice at higher risk of getting bird flu?

ProMed on the latest news from Wales....second farm not H7N2.

BBC reports the situation in Wales appears to be winding down.


At 6:23 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


As both of your articles, “Veterinarian’s at risk” and “ProMed”, point out, there is a definite danger of contracting bird flu, if one is close in proximity to infected domestic poultry or wild birds.

I didn’t believe it at first, but sick chickens do in fact sneeze – not like humans (at 100MPH), but they do cough and sneeze in their fowl way, nevertheless. It is a certain sign of illness in chickens. As the study proves, veterinarians are, without a doubt, at much higher occupational risk of infection when handling sick birds, because the critters shed avian viruses in saliva and in their droppings (poop). A vet can easily catch the avian virus when the infected chicken coughs or sneezes into his face, or by the vet breathing in bird dropping particles.

Logically, this is probably what is causing the higher level’s of H6, and H7 antibodies in their bloodstreams, based on serology studies.

This raises a couple of significant issues: (1) whether this really puts the veterinarians at risk to be the first to be infected with a pandemic strain of influenza – the answer is no doubt, yes – and even exposes them to reassortment with other circulating influenza viruses. The (2) issue is much broader – what about other even larger groups of people in direct contact with poultry, for example bird hunters in the US, and itinerant duck farmers in the Asian countries. Bangladesh has 37M ducks as well as 220M chickens – and it, alongside Vietnam, have the largest number of ducks in Asia. I would hate to check the handler's blood there for antibodies for H5.

This phenomenon is actually occurring all over the world, right under our noses. Whether it's veterinarian's or poor farmers handling asymtomatic virus shedding ducks in Asia - people are being exposed every day to deadly avian viruses.

On the lighter side, this sneezing situation reminds me of an old chicken joke, which goes as follows:

A Lion, a Gorilla and a chicken were discussing fear.

The gorilla said 'When I beat my chest all animals are afraid'

The Lion boasted 'When I roar, animals and humans for miles around are very very scared'

'That's nothing' said the chicken.
'All I have to do is sneeze and the whole world is terrified'

Or better still…

What did the chicken say when it found an ORANGE in its nest?
Look what mama - lade!



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