More on the bird flu in Romania and Turkey

First the bird flu was in Romania.

Then it wasn’t in Romania, but it was in Turkey.

Then we heard it wasn’t in Turkey after all. No, wait… they were just saying there weren’t any cases of PEOPLE with bird flu in Turkey, a fact that hasn’t stopped Turks from flocking to pharmacies to buy boxes of Tamiflu.

This is awfully confusing, probably because there are several different strains of bird flu. The only strain recognized to be deadly to humans is known as H5N1 — the strain they absolutely, positively found in Turkey.

Romania’s bird flu is considered an H5, but it hasn’t been subtyped for certain as yet. Unfortunately, Dr. Samuel Jutzi, director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization “suggested that the tests being conducted on Romanian samples would identify the same virus, despite earlier conflicting reports.”

In the absence of a bird flu vaccine, everybody is stockpiling oseltamivir (AKA Tamiflu), a pricey anti-viral that does not cure the flu, only reduce its severity. Unfortunately, Tamiflu manufacturer Roche insists that no other company may produce it, which means there probably won’t be enough to go around. Since it takes 12 months to make and Roche only recently boosted production, we shouldn’t expect Tamiflu to be easily available at our local drug stores this winter.

The good news about the bird flu seems to be that there only have been 117 confirmed cases in humans, and human-to-human transmission is considered extremely rare. The bad news is that 60 of those cases resulted in death, and experts fear the virus will mutate or combine with a “human” flu and become highly contagious. Meanwhile,

For more information about the bird flu and how it’s transmitted, here’s a good Q & A on the subject. And for the curious, here’s a bird flu survival story.

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5 Replies to “More on the bird flu in Romania and Turkey”

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  2. I was and am amazed and appalled at the way you treated the birds – with just putting them alive in a carrier bag and dumping them. You left them to suffocate and die in agony. It was upsetting to see the birds trying to escape and being treated with no feelings and by just being grabbed. The sound of the birdís fear and distress was distressful for any decent person to hear.

    Donít you think they have feelings or suffer pain? Is it their fault for the bird flu or manís pure greed? If you did not eat them you would not have the problem. Stop eating these pitiful creatures and then the problem will go away.

    I believe nature is responding to man callous greed and cruel treatment of animals so I am sorry you have bought it on your self, with your arrogant attitude that people are more superior to animals. (While I sympathise with the children who have died) God help, this is just the start until people come to realise we have to treat animals differently.

    Ann Mallon

  3. Dear Ann, I think you posted in the wrong blog.

    I’ve never suffocated anything—unless you count that time I sat on my little brother and he told my mom I suffocated him. The big baby!

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