bird flu not so dangerous if you're human

bird flu not so dangerous if you're human

Bird flu can be nasty if you're a bird, esp a factory farm chicken; but looks not so dangerous for humans:

'The team compiled evidence of antibodies to the virus collected from 12,677 Asians, Africans and Europeans in 27 studies dating from 1997 to 2009. The team estimates that about 1.2% of them had survived mild bird flu cases. That corresponds to "millions of people who have been infected worldwide," the study says.

"The bottom line is that it looks like a whole lot of people become infected and don't die," says Columbia University virologist Vincent Racaniello, who was not part of the study. "How much lower the death rate is, we don't know."' ... s-deadly/53223866/1

- won't please those, like Osterholm and even some in Hong Kong who've benefited from notions bird flu could kill us all [or at least, 50% of world population as "expert" Robert Webster once claimed]
Hong Kong Outdoors enjoying and protecting wild Hong Kong. DocMartin includes H5N1 and wild birds info


Bird Flu Scary for Chickens but no pandemic soon

Article I wrote for S China Morning Post, building on the above theme - and helping show how absurd it was to blame wild birds as major carriers of pathogenic H5N1 [and sad that HKBW Soc among conservation groups that were pretty quiet about such blame; though at least did not take funds for studies and reports suggesting birds were responsible, never mind evidence)
As you read this article today, you are perhaps asking yourself: Why aren’t half of us dead from bird flu?

After all, hadn’t renowned flu hunter Robert Webster remarked in 2006, "Society just can't accept the idea that 50 percent of the population could die… I'm sorry if I'm making people a little frightened, but I feel it's my role." And just last month, a feverish Guangdong boy visited Hong Kong for medical checks, and tested positive for bird flu, while two days ago came news that some bird flu strains may be just three mutations away from a pandemic virus..

For years, we’ve been haunted by the spectre of bird flu, which was first known to kill humans here in Hong Kong, in 1997.  That spring, 4500 chickens died on three Hong Kong farms, and scientists who investigated found a new strain of H5N1 avian influenza – which has since become known as “bird flu”. In May, a dying three-year old boy was found to be infected with the same flu, which killed five more people in Hong Kong during the year.

Hong Kong called in international experts. They included Robert Webster, whose research had revealed birds may carry flu viruses linked to those that threaten people. He led researchers who found bird flu in poultry markets, and over a million chickens were slaughtered, supposedly halting the onset of a global flu pandemic.
Bird flu spreads and migratory birds blamed

But of course, this was not the end of bird flu. In May 2001, there was a further outbreak in Hong Kong, and the government ordered the slaughter of all birds in local poultry farms. The next year, bird flu returned, affecting poultry but also killing ducks, geese and egrets in Kowloon Park and Penfold Park. Swiftly, migratory birds were blamed for bringing the disease – even though most victims in both parks were captive waterfowl, and the few wild birds were egrets that likely lived there year-round.

Bird flu hit the big time in 2003 and 2004, spreading widely in East Asia, from Japan south to Indonesia. There were more human infections and deaths. More dead wild birds were found to have been infected with bird flu – and migratory birds were widely fingered as the major carriers. As a birdwatcher who had become fascinated by the nightmarish potential of a flu pandemic, I began seeking information whilst trying to show the dates and locations of the bird flu outbreaks were very different to bird migration patterns.

Poultry disease specialist Dr Carol Cardona felt spread by humans was more likely, and emailed me saying, “This particular variant is unusual both for the fact that it can infect humans but also because it can make wild birds, especially ducks, sick… in my experience sick and dead ducks don't fly far.” This seemed commonsense, yet commonsense was all too lacking with bird flu.
Full article here: Bird Flu Scary for Chickens

[ Last edited by wmartin at 25/06/2012 13:04 ]
Hong Kong Outdoors enjoying and protecting wild Hong Kong. DocMartin includes H5N1 and wild birds info


HKBWS has not been silent on H5N1 Martin.

We have been directly involved for more than 10 years.

I suggest you look at the other pieces on this section of the BBS. These include:

  • Drawing attention to destruction of House Swift nests in Kowloon
  • Press releases and letters outlining shortcomings of Government's approach
  • Q&A for members on Bird Flu
  • Research outlining the pattern of incidences around the Bird Market
  • Direct challenge of officials in LegCo, conferences and in meetings with officials
  • Presentations to officials and the international media about H5N1
  • Collaboration with other NGOs in raising our concerns

Should you wish HKBWS to make a more proactive contribution we would welcome your undoubted expertise being channelled into supporting our efforts.


Mike K
Mike KilburnVice Chairman, HKBWSChairman, Conservation Committee


HKBWS n bird flu

Thanks for the response, Mike, tho I've no idea what "channelling" my expertise might involve; and why not "channelled" already.

When I first became interested in issue, 2003/2004, and realised wild birds wrongly blamed, I came up with info, map etc; including info from others.
As I recall, HKBWS showed no interest in this - certainly did no channelling that I can remember - and was pretty mute on issue.

Interesting snippet here I think:
Hong Kong Bird Watching Society chairman Cheung Ho-fai said migratory birds from Panyu are likely to carry the virus to the territory, although previous H5N1 cases in Hong Kong had been found to be unrelated to migratory birds. ... 12&sid=15407483

Looking thro this forum section, not really so many threads and posts as perhaps would be expected for an issue of such concern, especially given HK was at epicentre of blaming wild birds for spreading H5N1.

Here, by contrast, is a thread on a website I run: all info was available for "channelling" - and for consideration by Ho-fai, for instance. ... and-migratory-birds

I've also posted on this forum; had meagre responses. [Far more responses and interaction with conservationists and others outside HK.]

Bird flu issue seems mostly over now, and more acceptance re Dead Ducks Don't Fly, so it's woefully late to suggest soc would welcome any channelling of my expertise here.

Hong Kong Outdoors enjoying and protecting wild Hong Kong. DocMartin includes H5N1 and wild birds info