Saturday, September 23, 2006

"Achoo!!- I Mean "Croak".
There's an interesting article in the latest 'Conservator', the publication of "Ducks Unlimited Canada'. It's entitled 'What We Know: Avian Influenza and Wild Bird Populations", and its written by Catherine Soos of Environment Canada and the University of Saskatchewan and Jane Parmley of the Centre for Coastal Health in BC. Both are research oriented veterinarians.
Every once in a while the media reports a "scare" about discovery of influenza viruses in Canadian birds. This article puts this in perspective. Influenza viruses are ubiquitous in the avian population, and the media hardly does the public any service by dredging for a story on the usual "slow day". The authors also note the role of the international poultry trade, as opposed to migratory birds, in the spread of the H5N1 virus. They say,
"...most scientists now agree that wild birds could play a role in the spread of the disease, at least for short distances (!- Molly). However, most also agree that the poultry industry and movement of birds and bird products (legal or illegal) have likely been the predominant routes of spread, given that many outbreaks in poultry appeared to have followed roads, railway systems and international boundaries, and did not correspond to migratory bird routes or timing of migration".

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