Fw: [APMW] Avian flu: Don't place all the blame on wild birds

To: Carl Clifford <>
Subject: Fw: [APMW] Avian flu: Don't place all the blame on wild birds
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Fri, 26 May 2006 16:58:06 +1000
On Fri, May 26, 2006 at 03:29:19PM +1000, Carl Clifford wrote:
> I agree John,  the so called Avian 'flu is just another product of the
> good old human-poultry-pig virus factory in Asia, which has been in
> production for millennia and will so whilst the three groups of species
> remain living cheek-by-jowl.

There is very good reason to believe wild birds are the major ecological
reservoir for influenza A on  evolutionary timescales (which are short
in an RNA virus). Influenza A is far more diverse in birds than in other
hosts.  All 14 known HA-subtypes are found in waterfowl/shorebirds/gulls
as are all 9 of the NA-subtypes of influenza A.  I think 3 HA and 2 NA
influenza A subtypes are known to have had widespread occurrence in humans
and influenza A is less diverse still in pigs.  Much more in this paper:

But his doesn't implicate wild birds in the ecology/spread of the current
worrying H5N1 strain.  If anything the picture has become less clear.

Nature News had a piece last week about Bar-headed Geese being farmed
around Qinghai Lake.  It had been thought the remoteness of Qinghai Lake
outbreak was good evidence of long-distance transfer by wild birds.


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