Bird Flu Capers
The Bird Flu is obviously getting out of hand. Two girls died in Georgia (Eastern Europe) and the parents of children who go to school with the girls "suppose the victims had bird flu." (MosNews March 10, 2006.) Well, that's solid confirmation.
In Indonesia, the Bird Flu is for real, and it's striking humans, 21 dead already. (Reuters.) In 3 years Bird Flu has killed 95 humans, a mini-mini-mini-mini pandemic. It took 3 years for Bird Flu to kill more people than SARS which swept the globe and disappeared suddenly. Kind of odd, wouldn't you say?
The worry is that Bird Flu could strike the U.S. any day now. Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, a known authority on influenza, especially when blown in by hurricanes, said Thursday. "If we get a wild bird or even a domestic chicken that gets infected with avian flu, we're going to be able to deal with it, because we've got a lot of experience with that," Chertoff said. What, was Homeland Security distracted with Bird Flu drills while winds blew in New Orleans? Is the entire Homeland Security agency ready to strike if a lone bird gets the flu? Pity the sole bird. For the sake of the birds, let's hope Homeland Insecurity "fouls" the job like it did in New Orleans.
Finland has the whole threat under control. On Feb. 28, the ministry issued a warning in parts of the country, asking farmers to keep poultry indoors from March to May. (Source: Xinhua.) Ah, brilliant idea, make them all vitamin D deficient so they will develop influenza.
South Dakota officials have the Bird Flu prioritized. "Top U.S., regional and state officials warned South Dakotans today to seriously consider the threat that a world bird flu epidemic poses to local communities." Bruce Morrison, chief of wildlife for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, told an audience of 450 people at the South Dakota Summit on Pandemic Influenza that drastic action might be necessary "if Asian bird flu arrives in the United States." Morrison said: "We might have to shut down pheasant season in South Dakota."
Meanwhile, Taiwan protested to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for treating the self-ruled island as part of China by listing it as a bird flu–infected area. Ah, but we know those sneaky Chinese aren't telling the whole story.
The Albuquerque Tribune interviewed a Los Alamos scientist who is tracking the Bird Flu virus, and predicts it will arrive in the U.S. by 2007, saying: "Birds don't have to go through security checks when they cross borders. They don't have to get tested for drugs or disease before visiting wintering grounds along the Rio Grande. In the next two years, they could bring to New Mexico a deadly natural biological weapon – bird flu – says Jeanne Fair, a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory." Of course, humans aren't screened for Bird Flu or any disease at airports or border stations and immigrants walk across the southern border to the U.S. at will.
And imagining horrors of WWII, when Europeans had to hide Jewish people in hidden rooms and attics from the Gestapo, the owner of a British pet shop says he fears the day when authorities will cull all the birds in pet stores. Maybe think of building hidden cages now to save your most treasured pet birds. Beware The Keystone Bird Flu Cops.
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