Bird flu spreading to Europe – 9/05/2005

  • November 11, 2013 at 11:04 pm #974

    from bridget – 09/05/2005′, ‘Hi Guys
    Gosh, I do not want to be an alarmist, but I never thought I’d be
    forced by shear facts to believe we’d be under an operation the
    likes of ‘Owning the Weather’ either, so now my ear is to the ground
    and my trust is out the window.

    “”(quote from article below~Apart from the economic threat, the
    spread of H5N1 also poses a hazard to human health, by increasing
    the chances of a mutation that could create a pandemic capable of
    killing tens of millions.””
    Well, we continue to do what we can. I’d like to have ‘A Meet-Up’
    with like minded people, if anyone is interested.
    Best to you all,
    Bird flu risks spreading to Europe
    From: AAP
    By Sarah Stewart in Bangkok

    September 05, 2005
    THE bird flu virus that had leapt to Russia and Kazakhstan after
    causing deaths and huge economic losses in Asia risked spreading
    further, borne by migratory birds criss-crossing the globe, experts
    said today.

    Wild birds are widely credited with spreading avian influenza far
    beyond its epicentre in the backyard farms of Asia, where the
    mingling of species gives virologists nightmares about the risk of
    mutation into a far deadlier form.

    Once deposited in a country, courtesy of the annual migrations which
    take flocks of birds from Asia to the north during the European
    summer, the H5N1 strain moves among poultry with ease.
    “Birds play a role in the primary infection of the country, but then
    after that there’s no need for wildlife. It will spread very easily
    from one village to another through trade,” Joseph Domenech, the UN
    Food and Agriculture Organisation’s chief vet, said.

    “Given that it is a highly contagious disease, we were sure it could
    spread from one region to another, either through wildlife or
    through trade and movements of products. So this happened and we are
    not surprised at all.”
    Asia has been battling bird flu since late 2003, with vaccination
    campaigns and huge culls of tens of millions of chickens and ducks
    that have wrecked poultry industries, particularly in Thailand and

    While sporadic outbreaks continue to emerge in
    Asia, attention has now shifted to the discovery of the virus in
    poultry in parts of Russia and Kazakhstan, raising fears it will
    cross the Urals mountain chain into Europe.
    The alarm has already been raised in western Europe, and French
    President Jacques Chirac has called for a strong international
    response to the threat, warning it could develop into a serious
    health crisis.

    Mr Domenech said that the risk of avian influenza creeping that far
    in the next few months was low, but that each time birds flew back
    and forth across the globe the risks of contagion at the
    avian “crossroads” increased.
    “If the virus is coming from wildlife, then next year or the year
    after it could happen that it goes to western Europe,” he said.
    The virus threatened to contaminate all the migratory paths,
    bringing the disease to Africa, South Asia and the Middle East as
    well, he said.

    “We don’t want to panic, we don’t want to say there will be a
    massive infection, but recent events are obliging us to say that the
    risk exists and it must be monitored and surveillance must be put in
    Mr Domenech said Europe has more weapons at its disposal to fend off
    bird flu than Asia, and a developed agricultural system that was
    easier to defend. But it also had a lot to lose in a financial

    “We are very worried. If it comes to countries like those in western
    Europe it could be a very severe economic disaster,” he said,
    listing poultry export bans and expensive changes in farming methods
    as among the fallout.
    The Netherlands, one of the biggest European chicken producers, has
    already ordered poultry be kept inside in the hope of avoiding a
    repeat of a flu epidemic two years ago which nearly wiped out the
    country’s stock.

    Apart from the economic threat, the spread of H5N1 also poses a
    hazard to human health, by increasing the chances of a mutation that
    could create a pandemic capable of killing tens of millions.
    Bird flu has killed 62 people in Asia in the past two years,
    including 43 in Vietnam.

    “The farther this virus is being spread, the more opportunity it has
    to infect humans,” Dick Thompson, spokesman of the Geneva-based
    World Health Organisation, said.
    “And when that happens there’s also the possibility of reassortment
    with a human influenza virus and what we are concerned about in that
    case is that what might emerge is a pandemic virus able to jump
    easily from one person to another.”

    Mr Thompson said the emergence of bird flu in Europe had created a
    sense of alarm, but that wherever a pandemic erupted, it would
    circulate around the globe with deadly effect in a few months

    “In fact people in Europe are as threatened by pandemic influenza
    should it emerge and begin spreading from South-East Asia, as if the
    pandemic emerged in Kazakhstan,” he said.

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