Alarmist Story on Bird Flu in today's Age

Subject: Alarmist Story on Bird Flu in today's Age
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2005 09:26:38 +1000
On Wed, Oct 26, 2005 at 08:00:27AM +1000, John Leonard wrote:
>    There's an alarmist story on bird-flu trying to tie migratory waders
>    into the H5N1 virus.

The Age piece is here:
It looks better than average to me.  There is a garbled sentence in
the paragraph John quotes and it unfortunately perpetuates the notion
of avian influenza as a single entity. The article would be better if
every use of the terms avian influenxa and bird flu was replaced with
the word influenza.

I think he's underplaying the chance H5N1 will reach Australia via
migratory birds - given the rate the range of observations is expanding
and you assume birds are the vector (not that there is data for this).

There would be an up side (for humans) to the current H5N1 strain reaching
Australia this summer.  The consequent death of susceptible birds and
acquired immunity in other birds should make it less likely that wild
birds will be a vector for any more dangerous (for humans) H5N1 strains
that might subsequently appear overseas.  But if H5N1 becomes readily
transmissable between humans, vectors like 747s will far outweigh any
risks from birds.

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