Martin W

Evidence for wild birds spreading H5N1 in Russia looks very circumstantial. (Yes, yes, there’s Niman’s ink blot test map, but really, that should be laughed off the Internet.) According to best info so far, scenario we have is: No known H5N1 among wild waterbirds in winter areas; but asymptomatic H5N1 in domestic ducks in Vietnam. Very nasty H5N1 at Qinghai, killing geese, shelducks etc. Asymptomatic H5N1 (presumably) arriving in ducks (from where?) to various ponds scattered across Russia. It waits, for weeks, so far as we know without causing alarming numbers of wild bird deaths; seems all is fine. Then, when into poultry, this H5N1 kills chickens.

Other wild birds killed too (including ducks?) – which doesn’t add up I just tried "google news" for report I’ve heard of on UK foot-and-mouth disease [in cows] outbreak, a couple of years or so ago – I’d heard the report says transport among farms was responsible for more spread than was admitted at the time. Didn’t find the report in news, but instead, headlines like: "Foot-and-mouth disease spreading in Russia’s Far East near China" and [added later]

Foot-and-mouth disease spreading throughout Primorye region, near China.

Also reports of possible foot-and-mouth outbreak near Qinghai: China Culls Cattle in Qinghai Tibetan Village]. Hmm, don’t suppose anyone can blame wild, flying cows for this. Interesting, though. There is info on UK foot and mouth outbreaks, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_UK_foot_and_mouth_crisis Includes, "By the middle of spring 2001, several cases of foot and mouth were reported in Ireland and mainland Europe, following unknowing transportation of infected animals from the UK. The cases sparked fears of a continent-wide pandemic, but these proved unfounded." – change the disease to bird flu, place names to Russia, Mongolia etc, and just maybe looks rather similar to h5n1 today.