Hey folks! Sorry it's been a long little while since I updated. As I am a college student, the past two weeks have been midterm hell. So, you can expect another little pause near the second week of May, as well... heh.
While I have been studying and writing about a billion papers H5N1 has been pretty active. I assume you go to other sources for your bird flu news when I'm not regularly updating, and I tend to only report on fairly interesting news anyway (new infections, new deaths...), so a lot of this may be redundant...
Indonesia was going to give it's H5N1 samples to the WHO, but has recently decided that it will not do so after all, and will not share it's bird flu samples. This came a few days before the country confirmed its 65th death from H5N1.
Right, of course there's no interest to take a look at the strain that has killed the most people worldwide besides to use it for exploitative pharmaceuticals. Indonesia, your rhetoric rings hollow and your political games will only result in the death of more of your people!
Aside from Indonesia, Egypt has also confirmed new H5N1 infections. Seemingly out of the woodwork, H5N1 has also hit Laos and Kuwait. All this now in Mid-March, well out of the flu season.
In the humor section, the deputy administrator of the USDA-ARS made a fairly boneheaded statement (in a Scientific American article), referring to H5N1 entering the US via migratory fowl:
It is unlikely that a sick bird would be able to carry the deadly H5N1 avian influenza virus into the United States through the Pacific and Atlantic flyways, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.It's as if he didn't know that wild birds are CARRIERS of H5N1 and do not usually show signs of the illness or are killed by it! That would be ridiculous to assume, though, as I'm sure the administration of the USDA are very intelligent and aware of how biological and ecological systems work, as well as the current state of the bird flu situation...
"The distance may be too long for a (sick) bird to get that far," Steve Kappes, deputy administrator at the U.S. Agriculture Department's Agricultural Research Service, told reporters at a briefing on bird flu.
Scientific American seemed to be unaware of this basic fact as well, unless this esteemed scientific journal (er, pop-sci trash) believes that a chicken in any state of health has a chance of crossing the Atlantic ocean.
Well, I hope that's made up somewhat for my hiatus in posting. My bioterror and conspiracy round-up will be sure to follow tomorrow or the next day. Its my spring break coming up this week so I'm sure I will inundate you all with biological minutiae as I have no money and thus will be bored as hell.