Wild birds are not major carriers of H5N1 bird flu
- here are some quotes from experts
David Melville (ornithologist) and K.F. Shortridge (virologist)
the timing and distribution of the reported spread of H5N1 from South Korea (Dec 17, 2003) to Vietnam (Jan 8, 2004) to Indonesia (Feb 6, 2004) does not fit any known migratory pattern for any [waterbird] species
Influenza: time to come to grips with the avian dimension, The Lancet Vol 4, 2004.
Les Sims, veterinarian with extensive (unmatched?) experience with H5N1 in Asia
The situation remains that most of the spread of H5N1 HPAI has been associated with the poultry industry especially in places where the virus is endemic. Wild birds have almost certainly been involved in some of the long distance spread of virus recently (genetic evidence supports this as well), but that once established in a region, spread via poultry or items used with poultry will occur. Iif the disease is not rapidly controlled this becomes the main route of transmission.
(posted to this forum: thread on putting farming in the dock)
Hon S. Ip, United States Geological Survey, National Wildlife Health Center, Diagnostic Virology Laboratory
Reports of the role of wild birds as the cause of new bird flu outbreaks occur almost daily, but at the present time, there is little evidence available to support such statements...
Movement of birds, including annual migration, is only one of several possible means of dissemination of the HPAI H5N1 virus. In many of the areas of recent outbreaks, there is a thriving trade of live birds and poultry products... Although much has been made of the recent pattern of spread as indicative of avian migration, many ornithologists have indicated that the spread of H5N1 does not fit with known behavior of the bird species in that area of the world (Butler, D. 2005. Nature: ): It should be noted that the same pattern of spread can just as easily be seen as from the major routes of human transportation.
posted on promed, 24 August 2005
I think there is a lot of assumptions made out there that are not supported by the evidence.
email to me, 16 December 2005
Dr. David Swayne, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's poultry research laboratory in Athens, Ga
They're the sentinels. They're not the reservoir that's spreading it around. They're infected because the poultry are infected... When you have an outbreak, sometimes you don't really know what the cause was... Nobody going to be upset with you if you say wild birds.
In 5 Sept 2005 article by Helen Branswell, quoted in thread on this forum - don't blame the birds. Swayne since come to believe wild birds behind spread to east Europe; tho don't know he'll remain fixed in this belief, given other info such as absence of spread in Asia.
Guan Yi, virologist, University of Hong Kong
Governments embarassed by their failure to halt the flu's spread welcome that idea [that H5N1 travelled in the guts of wild waterbirds]. "They get a free lunch," says Guan Yi...
"Each time there's an outbreak, they say, 'It's migratory birds. I cannot control them. I cannot lock my sky." ...
Guan isn't ready to blame migratory birds for the spread so far. He thinks the virus has killed infected birds too quickly for them to fly long distances. Instead H5N1 probably hitchhiked across Asia in shipments of live poultry, in a disaster of our own making.
National Geographic October 2005.
The outbreaks in China are not carried by the migratory birds... Bird flu has already taken root deeply in China [i.e. Chinese poultry]. Namely China itself is the source of bird flu.
- edited portion of Google translation from Epoch Times article on 30 November 2005, at http://www.epochtimes.jp/jp/2005/11/html/d56400.html[/url] - note that other recent articles on Guan Yi say his team has analysed over 100,000 samples from birds around China.
Moscow Zoo's Chief Veterinarian (on Russian outbreaks) MOSCOW, October 27 (RIA Novosti, Maria Gusarova) - The Moscow Zoo's Chief Veterinarian said Thursday that the cause of the bird flu outbreak is the unmonitored transit of domestic birds, not wild bird migration. "No one has proved anywhere that the carriers of avian flu are wild birds...
However, the black market for trading animals provides all the conditions for the unmonitored transit of un-examined birds," Valentin Kozlitin said. http://en.rian.ru/russia/20051027/41911603.html
Professor Ron Ydenberg, heads the Center for Wildlife Ecology at Simon Fraser University in Canada
Wild birds are implicated spreading the disease because they travel a long distance. There is no absolute proof of that yet. The real issue is where the highly pathogenic strain of the virus comes from. That's not in wild birds. It's almost certain it comes from poultry population.
in Experts say flu fears over wild birds over-stated, 27 November 2005
Dr Michael Rands, director and chief executive of BirdLife International
The hypothesis that wild birds are to blame is simply far from proven. Wild birds occasionally come into contact with infected poultry and die: they are the victims not vectors of H5N1 bird flu.