1,000s Of Migratory Birds
Drop Dead In
Malawi - H5N1?

From Patricia Doyle, PhD


Hello Jeff - How are we ever going to stop Avian Influenza in animal populations? In this case, in Malawi, people reportedly scooped up the dead birds as they fell, like manna from heaven, and took the birds home to eat.
"Someone alerted police that people are feasting on mysterious manna from heaven."
At this time, we do not know if the birds were killed by H5N1...and neither did the people who scooped up the birds and took them home to eat. How can we prevent H5N1 in humans when people are either utterly uninformed or act so recklessly?
Sapa-AP via Independent On Line
Malawi dispatched blood and tissue samples to neighboring South Africa on Friday to be tested for avian influenza after thousands of migratory birds were found dead on a hill in the central Ntchisi district.
Agriculture officials expressed alarm after local villagers started scooping up the dead fork-tailed drongos -- known locally as namzenze -- to eat earlier this week in the district about 200km east of the capital, Lilongwe.
"Someone alerted police that people are feasting on mysterious manna from heaven," said Wilfred Lipita, director of livestock and animal health in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security. "We sent officials to caution the people not to eat them, since they may have the avian flu which has proved deadly to humans in other countries."
The H5N1 strain of bird flu has ravaged poultry stocks across Asia since 2003, killing or forcing the slaughter of more than 160 billion birds. It has also killed at least 71 people. Health officials fear the virus could spark a pandemic if it mutates into a form easily passed from human-to-human.
Clearly, everyone is on the alert for avian influenza. We look forward to hearing the official test results.
Although it is not unheard of for one particular avian species to be more susceptible to the virus, it seems unlikely that only one type of bird in a region would be affected. The description of "manna from heaven" makes me wonder if the birds were literally falling out of the sky. If that were the case I might be inclined to think about a metabolic toxin of some kind.
For those not familiar with the drongos, they are a common bird with black feathers and distinctive red eyes. Although usually they are diurnal, lights around buildings will prompt them to eating the moths attracted to the light, well into the dark hours. A good picture can be found at : - Mod.TG
Patricia A. Doyle, DVM, PhD- Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics
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Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
Go with God and in Good Health




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