WASHINGTON - Veterinary experts are cautioning that exaggerated media and government reports of a deadly influenza pandemic triggered by the avian flu are causing needless public hysteria."We are very unlikely to get an avian flu strain that is infectious to humans," said Daniel Perez, an assistant professor at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. "The chances of getting hit by avian influenza from wild birds is the same as getting hit by a lightning bolt."
Perez, along with three other veterinary experts, said widespread prevention and detection methods are still integral in preventing an outbreak of the avian flu strain, also known as H5N1, which is currently infecting birds in Asia and Europe.
They spoke at a news conference this week sponsored by the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.
That said, I'm not sure I trust some Vet from Viginia telling me how likely a mutation is. I'd rather get a virologist or epidemiologist's opinion, which at the moment is "this thing could pop at any time." Not to mention, WE ALREADY HAVE AN AVIAN FLU VIRUS INFECTIOUS TO HUMANS!! No, it isn't very contagious to us, and it doesn't spread between humans - but seriously, over 60 people have died from an infectious avian flu virus, it's ridiculous to say "we are unlikely to get one" when one obviously already exists.
Look, playing down fears is important, but being dishonest and just plain wrong does not help to quell mounting anxiety. It just bugs me that vets think they can speak with authority on this matter, when we're talking about the behavior of a virus - not birds. I'll listen to their advice on how to quarantine livestock, but they really don't know shit about how rogue DNA mutates and spreads -- and it's not their job to know. Not that a veterinarian can't have an informed opinion, but it seems like these guys are just spreading disinformation.
Also, Daniel Perez is only an assistant professor, so I don't even know how "expertly" his knowledge of even vetrinary medicine is.