From 6 June Promed:

My latest theory on the inexorable spread of avian influenza to Borneo and
Sumatra is that movement of poultry from the Malaysia peninsula had been
suppressed by fear of piracy in the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca.

After the Boxing Day Tsunami, the South China Sea was awash, so to speak,
with military vessels bringing aid from foreign nations, which had the
effect of reducing the fear that a smuggler of poultry might be massacred
by pirates as he carried his chickens by small boat across to the islands.

Apparently, piracy is once again on the increase in the South China Sea, so
we can expect the current outbreak of H5N1 to dwindle in proportion to the
hazard to small-craft traffic.


Hugh Baker
Veterinary Program Officer – Exports
Canadian Food Inspection Agency/Agence canadienne d’inspection des aliments
Toronto Regional Office
1124 Finch Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario M3J 2E2
Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada

[I have always claimed that, given 3 facts, I can come up with 4
speculative epidemiologic hypotheses to explain them. It is clear that the
epidemiology of H5N1 HAI is both multifactorial and multicausational, and
each region will be different. Hugh’s suggestion may carry some weight.
Only those in the region with special knowledge can tell us whether it has
any validity or not. I would not be surprised if it is correct for the
above piracy-affected areas. Piracy is a major hazard to shipping in the
South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca. – Mod.MHJ]