just received this message from a conservationist, here in Hong Kong:
Just been reading some rubbish from WHO's website
"In the past, only two large die-offs in migratory birds, caused by highly pathogenic viruses, are known to have occurred: in South Africa in 1961 (H5N3) and in Hong Kong in the winter of 2002–2003 (H5N1)."
Did you know about the large die-off of migratory waterbirds in HK in 2002-2003? News to me.
Can you send me your contact in WHO that I can write to to get more information and to get the statament corrected?
HK govt blamed wild birds for die-offs in Kowloon and Penfold parks; never mind that ornamental birds involved, a couple of [little?] egrets h5n1 positive I think - but most of our little egrets are resident (maybe especially at Penfold Park); there were outbreaks around same time in local farms, none in Deep Bay. [v few dead individuals, no outbreak?] I've written of this a few times - had seemed that mostly taken as a given that wild birds behind it, once hk govt said it was so, and never mind really looking at the evidence. [I've read OIE reports] likewise persistent misinfo re peregrine in HK - seems often reported as wild, even tho looked to be an abandoned bird
WHO really should take more care to get facts right here; especially when such paranoia around, with calls for wild bird culls (happened already in Russia at least??), for wetlands to be drained so less waterbirds visit. But, sloppiness re h5n1 and wild birds has been hallmark of WHO for some time (one or two people in WHO taking a bit of care to be more accurate).