Birds on My Mind

February 6, 2007

mask_blog.jpgA cull of 159,000 turkeys is now complete in the UK after an outbreak of bird flu was found. Bird flu is certainly weighing on the minds of many people. At the moment, bird flu is not easily transmitted between humans. The fear, however, is that a mutant strain will emerge that is highly contagious and deadly to humans.

This has not happened, thankfully, and I wonder if we are not too focused on bird flu which currently carries low risk compared to other diseases. Before I travelled to Asia in December of 2005 I was shocked to learn that there was an outbreak of Dengue Fever in the region. Singapore had 14,000 cases and 19 deaths. Singapore!!! Sheesh.

Some say that the overdue bird flu pandemic is alarmist. Well if I was a bird I’d certainly be worried and I’m certainly glad public health officials are keeping an eye out for signs of mutation. I hope the health officials do not drop the ball on diseases like TB and Malaria while they focus on bird flu.