H5N1 Bird Flu - Avian Influenza

  • With so much else going on in the world Avian Bird Flu seems to be flying under the radar. This should be getting more attention before it becomes a pandemic in its own right.

    A small sampling from VOA News:

    Zoos Protecting Birds as Avian Flu Spreads in North America

    Nearly 23 million chickens and turkeys have already been killed across the United States to limit the spread of the virus, and zoos are working hard to prevent any of their birds from meeting the same fate. It would be especially upsetting for zoos to have to kill any of the endangered or threatened species in their care.
    Officials emphasize that bird flu doesn't jeopardize the safety of meat or eggs or represent a significant risk to human health. No infected birds are allowed into the food supply, and properly cooking poultry and eggs kills bacteria and viruses. No human cases have been found in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Wait for it... well... we did not have to wait long: 3 weeks later:

    First US Case of H5N1 Bird Flu in Human Confirmed in Colorado

    A Colorado prison inmate who worked at a poultry farm culling infected birds has become the first person in the U.S. to test positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu.

    And more recently, endangered species of Penguins are being infected:

    Bird Flu Hits Colony of Endangered Penguins in South Africa

    Cape Town, South Africa —

    South African conservationists are on high alert after an outbreak of bird flu killed close to 30 penguins at one of the country's most stable colonies and a popular tourist attraction.

    The disease, formally known as avian influenza, is untreatable and has already killed more than 20,000 Cape cormorant birds since last year.

    Boulders Penguin Colony, about a 40-minute drive from Cape Town’s city center, is home to about 3,000 African penguins — a significant number given there are only about 14,000 breeding pairs left on the planet.

    Taking our eyes off of this ball, political gamesmanship, etc. could well mean disaster for our feathered friends. 🐦