Bird Flu 'Experts'(?) Taking
Aim At Roaming Ducks

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Bird Flu 'Experts'(?) Taking Aim At Roaming Ducks
From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello, Jeff - Whenever we consider killing millions of a species we must bear in mind that each species of animal, insect, plant etc has its place in nature and removing a species or a large number of that species sets the stage for disaster.
The experts tried to curb Chronic Wasting Disease in a specified sector in Wisconsin. That action did not work, CWD spread outside of the perimeter. India soon learned that the die offs of vulture populations caused an increase in rabies and other diseases. Without the vultrues, carcasses of dead animals littered towns and villages and wild dogs gatered feasting on the carcasses. Rabies increased dramatically as well as vectored diseases like Japanese Encephalitis.
Removing large numbers of species will upset the fragile balance of nature, and, in my opinion, will not curb Avian Influenza.
Patricia Doyle
Bird Flu Experts Take Aim at Roaming Ducks
By Darren Schuettler
HO CHI MINH CITY (Reuters) - In the fight against Asia's bird flu, experts are zeroing in on ducks and the role they play in the spread of the deadly disease.
U.N. officials at a bird flu conference in Vietnam on Wednesday said the virus that has killed 46 people in Asia may never be eliminated partly because ducks are silent carriers and open-air farms allow them to spread the disease.
"The public health implications of this are very serious," Shigeru Omi, the head of the World Health Organization in Asia, told the conference in Ho Chi Minh City.
"How can people avoid exposure to the virus when they don't know which ducks are infected and which ones are not?"
Animal health experts say ducks can carry the virus without showing any sign of illness, making them a reservoir for avian influenza that may be impossible to eradicate.
Compounding the problem are age-old methods of farming in Asia -- where free-range ducks waddle in fields and farmyards, mixing with other animals and spreading the disease.
"We know that the virus is well established in set populations such as ducks without showing any signs," said Joseph Domenech, chief of the Animal Health Service for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
"We have to stop or prevent that spread from reservoir to domestic animals to humans where the risk is very high of a pandemic one day," he told Reuters.
What experts fear is that the H5N1 virus could get into a person or animal with a human flu virus and mutate into a strain that could sweep through a world population with no immunity and kill millions.
With bird flu expected to linger for many years, U.N. officials are calling for a massive effort to contain the virus before it spreads to other parts of the world.
Hard-hit countries are trying to tackle the problem.
Thailand, where a high rate of infection has been found in ducks, plans to slaughter about 2.7 million free-range ducks, the FAO said.
In Vietnam -- where ducks can roam for kilometers, swimming in flooded rice paddies and eating leftover grain in fields -- authorities ordered farmers to keep their waterfowl penned up.
Breeding of ducks has been suspended and Ho Chi Minh City ordered a cull of ducks this month.
"We consider it the source of incubation for the virus. We have stopped the hatching until June 30," said Agriculture Minister Cao Duc Phat.
Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
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