« Libby's Approximate Date | Main | The Evolution of a Mea Culpa »

February 03, 2007


is there routine monitoring on poultry farms or was this only picked up after a couple thousand birds dropped dead?

I see that all birds from that farm were then incinerated. does the gov't compensate the farmer in any way for that?

as with mad cow, my impression is that UK & Canadian farmers are more responsible about reporting diseased animals than US farmers -- who prefer a "see no evil" approach, avoiding monitoring so they won't have to kill their herds (or flocks). is that characterization accurate?

do any groups sell bird flu insurance, like hurricane insurance, that might lower the bar for altruism on the part of the farmer expected to report an infection? should they?

don't know the answers to these good questions. it does seem that the first birds died (70 or so) and the next day, more and then the 3rd day in the hundreds, so it was only then they were reported. This was not picked up by routine surveillance.

he first signs of the virus emerged last Tuesday, when 71 chicks died. A further 186 died the following day, 860 on Thursday and 1,500 on Friday. Yesterday hundreds of white-feathered birds were being pushed into an open-topped container by a tractor with a giant blue shovel. They were covered with a tarpaulin cover and taken away for incineration shortly before 1pm.

Bernard Matthews informed the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about the dead birds on Thursday night. Preliminary tests late on Friday confirmed bird flu, but it was only yesterday that further tests revealed the H5N1 strain. It is the first case on a UK commercial farm of H5N1, which has killed 164 people - most in south-east Asia - since 2003. The virus cannot pass from human to human at present.

There was criticism yesterday that Matthews's firm was too slow to act. Lillian Foreman, 43, a local resident, said: 'If turkeys started dying on the Tuesday, why wasn't Defra notified then?'


As for compensation, i don't know if that happens. The birds die if they're not killed.... high path avian influenza is pretty efficient. So, again, it's not a 'better approach'.

Oh, and note the flu wiki link at the bottom of the Guardian story.

they die if they're not killed -- if they're infected. the WaPo story you link to, up top, says that all 159,000 birds from the farm were incinerated even though the virus was only found in 1 of the farm's 22 turkey sheds.

the other choice the farmer had was to try to cover up the infection and gamble that the one shed might die off but that the infection would not spread to the rest of the farm -- given 22 sheds, figure that's a savings of up to 95% of the farm's stock. that's a strong incentive.

it's remarkable to me that the farmer was honest enough to report it, even if it did take him two days to do so. I can certainly imagine a US farm trying to cover it up altogether.

Indonesia has recorded the virus in cats, too.

I found this news to be quite alarming, other than an occasional dead migratory bird I'd seen H5N1 as a relatively distant threat to "the west" (US/CANADA/UK, IMO).

I immediately thought of DemFromCT when I read this story, and knew/hoped I'd find a new post on TheNextHurrah.

So if you have multiple bird sheds, how easily is H5N1 spread? Do the birds have to come into direct contact with each other or can it be spread airborne or through contact with the same food/materials?


The comments to this entry are closed.

Where We Met

Blog powered by Typepad