Human Bird Flu In UK? - Veterinarian In Hospital

Patricia Doyle, PhD

"Earlier a Commission spokesman said decisions by some countries to ban all poultry exports from the UK were "totally disproportionate" and "unjustified". He urged South Africa, Japan, Russia, Hong Kong and South Korea to resume business as usual."
Hello Jeff - Oh, yes - business as usual! Bird Flu in the UK? Nah, not a problem, say UK businessmen. Send out that poultry to the rest of the world, Japan, Korea, wherever. Heck, if bird flu breaks out in countries that trade poultry with the UK, just say that the bird flu came from someplace else.
There have been a rash of news stories from the UK that say the next pandemic will come out of Java and not Suffolk. Sure, that may very well be true, and Dr. Henry Niman has explained all of that...but don't negate what is happening in Suffolk.
This bird flu situation just gets me so angry. One country after the other playing down all of the risks and all claiming either 'no bird flu' or 'low-risk' bird flu.
As for the vet that became infected - is the UK is in denial of bird flu in that vet? Just the process of taking off the protective equipment can be risky.  Health officials like to say it can never happen, however, we know better. Taking off a mask, a glove, etc just a little too quicky can cause problems.
Maybe the vet was so harried and overwhelmed with work that he forgot to swab his nose or shower behind the ears, etc. ACCIDENTS CAN AND DO HAPPEN. The UK, however, insists that it is not bird flu infecting the vet. Let's hope not.
....And, of course, there is more risk of pandemic from Indonesia which has by far the most per capita poultry population, much more than the UK. More people have poultry living and sleeping inside their homes than in the UK, and there is more of a tendancy to hide poultry in Java, etc. than the UK. BUT we would never say never, and never say that pandemic cannot start in the UK or US for that matter.
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
Univ of West Indies
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