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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

If the Cows and Deer Don't Get Us, Will the Chickens?

If mad cow disease, and mad deer disease doesn't get us, the chickens might. A case of mad cow disease was found in Alabama and mad deer disease lurks just across our border in West Virginia. We are fragile beings and as much as any terrorist war we are at war with the bird flu.
Ready or not, here it comes.

“It is being spread much faster than first predicted from one wild flock of birds to another, an airborne delivery system that no government can stop.”

“U.S. spy satellites are tracking the infected flocks, which started in Asia and are now heading north to Siberia and Alaska, where they will soon mingle with flocks from the North American flyways.”

"What we're watching in real time is evolution," said Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. "And it's a biological process, and it is, by definition, unpredictable." From ABC News

In one model the prime target of migrating bird terrorists are the chicken farms of Perdue on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Without vaccination it is predicted that half the population of the United States would have the flu in 3 months.

Of course, this predication depends if the flu evolves to easily attach to a human host. But viruses are always evolving, the virus has adapted to cats, and other mammals may be only one variation away. And it could happen fast.

“In a remarkable speech over the weekend, Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt recommended that Americans start storing canned tuna and powdered milk under their beds as the prospect of a deadly bird flu outbreak approaches the United States.” From ABC News.

Recommended reading is the full article from ABC


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