Thursday, October 13, 2005

The bird flu

We've got it. We (and by we, I mean the Romanian nation) have been sniffing and coughing all week, and now the doctor has confirmed that it is indeed bird flu, or, as it more commonly known to the layman H5N1.

So now, nobody's buying Romanian poultry, and all the hens and stuff in the Danube Delta region are being slaughtered. It's not clear to me exactly why this is, so I thought I would use this space to see if I could work it out. This is what I know:
1. So far bird flu has passed to a few humans, and it's pretty deadly when it does. The big fear is that eventually the virus will mutate into a form (H5N2? H5N1b?) that can be transmitted between humans.
2. To contract bird flu you have to be pretty much spending your working life knee deep in chicken shit (you can't get it from eating chicken or eggs for example)
3. Bird flu has arrived in Romania in ducks that have migrated to (or via) the Danube Delta. It wasn't some chicken who hitched a lift from Kazakhstan
4. Birds fly, and migrate, and will therefore spread the virus whatever we do (aside from killing the entire avian population of the planet)
5. The way that we have of dealing with this problem is to kill all poultry in the areas where bird flu has been found.

So, the logic behind 5 is , I presume, that by killing poultry you lessen the chances of people catching the virus, which in turn lessens the chance of it mutating into some new virulent form. Which does in fact make sense. Bit of a bummer for the people who keep chickens (the majority of whom in Romania are just normal folk with a few fowl in their back garden, and who are therefore not in any danger - if I've understood correctly), but still I guess not an especially illogical policy. I had been thinking that it was a bit futile what with the fact that birds fly around and stuff, but I do see the point behind it.

Mind you I've written all this now, so while it may have been rendered utterly pointless by me actually applying the miracle of reasoning to the sounding off I was about to do, I'm not about to delete it. So, well, here you go.

We've got bird flu. That's the extent of the value of this post. And you probably already knew that anyway.

Sorry to have wasted your time.

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