Saturday, May 9, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Bird Flu Fricassee

It's literally a Holocaust™:

"Current strain of bird flu stumps researchers; Virus origins, transmission yet to be assessed" by David Pitt Associated Press  May 03, 2015

DES MOINES — It’s been five months since the H5N2 bird flu virus was discovered in the United States, and producers have lost 21 million birds in the Midwest alone. Yet, researchers acknowledge they still know little about a bird flu virus that’s endangered turkey and egg-laying chicken populations that supply much of the nation.

That's nothing: 

"About a billion birds - die each year by crashing into buildings they cannot see.... building collision is the second biggest cause of death to birds after habitat destruction.... But even for many ecoconscious building owners and developers, the price of preventing bird kills is too high"

The numbers are indeed staggering, and Boston is building up!

Scientists at the US Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other federal agencies are puzzled by the H5N2 virus’ spread — even amid heightened biosecurity measures — and apparent lack of widespread deaths in largely unprotected backyard flocks.

I've seen this script before.

‘‘At this point, we don’t know very much about these viruses because they’ve only recently been identified,’’ Dr. Alicia Fry, the CDC’s leader of the influenza prevention and control team, said. ‘‘We’re following the situation very closely because this is something we’re continuing to understand.’’

The current H5N2 virus surfaced last winter in Canada and was first identified in the United States in early December, when it was found in a wild bird on the West Coast.

The terrorists bring it in because of the war aid?

This spring, the virus was found in poultry operations in eight Midwest states, forcing commercial producers to kill and compost millions of turkeys and chickens in Iowa, Minnesota, and elsewhere.

The price of chicken is about to go up like beef did.

Scientists speculate that perhaps rodents or small birds, seeking food, tracked the virus into barns.

Maybe it’s the work of flies, as the bird flu virus has been found on the insects in a Pennsylvania outbreak in 1983 and in Japan in 2004. The USDA’s chief veterinarian even floated the idea last week wind may be blowing dust and feathers carrying the virus from the barnyard into buildings through air vents.

Or: CDC Slowing Releasing Infectious Agents 

They wouldn't do that!

‘‘To me, the main concern is the disease is moving even with heightened biosecurity,’’ said Richard French, a professor of animal health at Becker College in Worcester, Mass. 

French and Fry the experts?


Poultry farms’ biosecurity measures include changing clothes and boots before entering barns, disinfecting equipment and vehicles before they approach the barns, and assigning workers to specific barns.

As new operations are infected almost daily, USDA epidemiologists also are trying to determine whether the virus came from a wild bird or could have spread from poultry in another barn or a nearby farm....

Sorry for picking over my meat.

Another puzzling question has been why there hasn’t been a surge in infections of backyard flocks....

Cases might not be reported, French said, noting that commercial operations have a financial incentive to immediately report illnesses because the government pays them for each live bird that must be destroyed. Plus, French said, outdoor chickens could have been exposed over time to low pathogenic versions of bird flu and have developed stronger immunity.

One belief held by researchers will soon be tested: whether the virus will die as temperatures warm up and ultraviolet light increases.

With temperatures this week in the 70s in many of the affected states and even warmer weather expected soon, infections should decline if that assumption is true.

But David Swayne, director of the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, Ga., acknowledged it’s hard to predict what will happen.

‘‘It’s pretty complex. It involves the climate, the temperature itself, the amount of humidity there,’’ he said.

Scientists expect the virus to return in the fall along with cooler temperatures and wild birds migrating south, but Swayne says the virus could burn itself out and disappear for a while before that.

I'm about to do the same for the night.


I don't know what is flying around, but I'll tell you one thing: I won't be eating chicken tonight. 

Until tomorrow, God willing.... 

Looks like Ebola is on its way back but that will be a future post.


"One of the largest US egg producers will destroy 2 million egg-laying hens in Minnesota due to the deadly bird flu virus, bringing the total of affected birds to 35 million in 15 states, with Minnesota and Iowa hit the hardest. The chickens will be destroyed in the next four weeks at Rembrandt Enterprises in Renville. Its vice president of marketing, Jonathan Spurway, said one barn holding about 200,000 birds was infected, but the entire flock will be killed as a precaution. The farm suffered an outbreak at one of its Iowa facilities May 1, contaminating a barn housing about 250,000 hens. ‘‘We’re doing everything we possibly can . . . ’’ Spurway said. ‘‘The industry is lost for words.’’ The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced on Friday the cancellation of all exhibits featuring birds at the Minnesota State Fair this year to stem the spread of the H5N2 virus. The ban also applies to county fairs, swap meets, and petting zoos."