Tuesday, March 14, 2006

ABC News Sounds Alarm On Bird Flu Migration

Photo Credit: ecj, Condor 3-2003

From Primetime -

Ready or Not, Bird Flu Is Coming to America
Officials Advise Stocking Up on Provisions -- and Warn That Infected Birds Cannot Be Prevented From Flying In

March 13, 2006 - 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.

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.

"There's no way you can protect the United States by building a big cage around it and preventing wild birds from flying in and out," U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Michael Johanns said.

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."

And in a related story -

Alaska Villagers to Help Bird Flu Survey
By ANNE SUTTON, Associated Press Writer Sat Mar 11, 5:48 PM ET

JUNEAU, Alaska - He lives in one of the most remote areas of North America, but that hasn't stopped James Active Jr. from worrying about bird flu on its march around the globe.

A Yupik Eskimo from Kipnuk, a native village of 600 people on the edge of the Bering Sea, he follows the news on satellite television: millions of chickens and ducks dead or slaughtered in Asia, a scattering of human deaths, fallen swans in France, a dead cat in Germany.

Thousands of miles from these outbreaks, Active sounds resigned to the eventual appearance of the disease on his turf."We hear about it being overseas in different countries but somewhere down the line, I'm sure it will end up this way too," he said.

I sense a conspiracy theory out here, and it goes something like this …

The U.S. Congress, in a cost cutting move to finance the war against world terrorism, classifies Eskimo’s as U.S. spy satellites. This will have the effect of killing two birds (sorry) with one stone – to reduce the overall cost to our military infrastructure and to have a built in early warning system that will track flu infected migratory flocks of birds through the North American flyways into the United States.

Is it time yet to invest in N95 to N100 face masks?

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