FAO/OIE wild birds and H5N1 conference papers

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    Martin W

      Papers from FAO/OIE conference on wild birds and H5N1, held in Rome at end of May, now available on FAO site:

      Looking thro listings, and briefly at abstracts, seems presentations from v few ornithologists; bias towards believers in/people v open to believing in the Tooth Fairy Bird. [Tho overall evidence against existence of this oft mooted but never discovered species.] Haven't had time to check the papers, see re sources of funding for various research projects; might be interesting to do so. Does tendency to believe in Tooth Fairy Bird increase with funding from FAO and other organisations that have proven very willing to blame the wild birds?

      Martin W

        Oh dear, just had a read of Anatidae migration and h5n1 paper; authors inc Joseph Domenech and Juan Lubroth of FAO. Looks to be based on various barely founded assumptions.

        Why haven’t they also strongly considered the flyways in east Asia, say?
        – where patterns don’t follow migration routes. [Here I am in Hong Kong; evidence here powerfully against ducks being major carriers H5N1)

        A few quotes:

        Invariably, wild birds found to be infected with the virus were either dead or moribund and may not have been able to spread the virus over long distances. Furthermore, in several cases, no straightforward match was found between the appearance of the virus and the presence of the wild birds suspected of spreading it. For example, HPAI H5N1 virus outbreaks that took place in Russia and Kazakhstan during summer 2005 were distributed along important trade routes

        The search for wild bird species carrying HPAI H5N1 virus is in progress and awaits further classification.

        The broad approach adopted in this study has clear limitations

        Sad people amongst authors, with a strong and clear bias towards poultry industry (Joseph Domenech is there, I see: long a cheerleader for blaming wild birds for spread, avoiding notions it’s really the poultry trade to blame).

        There’s little about how it’s not efficient for ducks to spread via oral tracts – no notion that wild avian flus spread thro faeces as they have evolved to transmit thro most efficient mechanisms.

        Only scant coverage of trade routes, as much discussed here on aiwatch. The situation in east Asia just skated over.

        Appalling. (Tho for those involved in the poultry industry gravy train, must be considered a boost after an autumn of – so far – zero transmission by wild birds. New Sci and its poultry magazines publishing publisher will surely like it!)

        Anatidae Migration in the Western Palearctic and Spread of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 Virus

        Martin W

          Another person’s comment on the Anatidae and H5N1 paper:

          We still try to understand this article.
          But also have feelings – a lot of interesting assumptions, little
          factual evidences.

          According authors H5N1 outbreak in Romania and Turkey poultry started
          early October 2005. I’m not specialist, but I have serious doubts,
          if serious amount of ducks already in this time arrive so far south
          and west for wintering.

          After 2-4 month silence – new powerful outbreaks in Ukraine,
          Dagestan (it is northern part of the Caspian sea), Azerbaijan.
          Again poultry sector affected + more or less visible amount of swans in Azerbaijan.
          As I understand, limited amount of samples from wild birds was positive.
          Millions domestic birds are dead. Millions wild birds quite
          successful survive in very cold winter.

          After, already in late winter-spring 2006 some amount H5N1 in wild
          birds (mostly swans) in Europe. It create most media panic.
          Actually no serious veterinary problems in poultry sector (with some rare exceptions).
          As I understand – very limited amount of H5N1 positive wild birds
          was registered. Or EU AI wild birds monitoring system simple not work?

          Spring 2006 – full scale avian flu panic in Russia. Danger!
          H5N1 with wild birds from Europe come back and will infect
          whole European part of the Russia!

          Until this moment – zero cases H5N1 positive wild and
          domestic birds in Central and North European part of the Russia.

          Yes, wide scale vaccination was implemented. But efficiency of vaccine
          is doubtful and vaccination include only part of the domestic birds.
          As concern biosecurity, especially in small farm and among local peoples
          – forget it. Wild and domestic birds meet together everywhere.

          Some monitoring of the H5N1 in wild birds – nothing was discovered.
          Good luck.

          Yes, quite serious avian flu outbreak in wild birds in 2006 summer in Tuva
          (close to Mongolia and China). Some H5N1 antibodies positive wild birds (including this year ducklings) was discovered in Omsk,Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk region (it is southern part of Central Siberia)

          This moment it is all.

          And where is this horrible long distance flying death?
          Only sparrows from China instead.

          Martin W

            And, another comment, critical of the Anatidae carrying H5N1 paper:

            The authors cite the date of the first confirmed outbreak in Ukraine
            as DECEMBER 2005. There was an OIE report filed by Ukraine on 5 Dec
            2005, but this report says first outbreak began on 25 Nov.

            Also, officials later admitted that they were aware of outbreaks in
            October and farmers quoted by news media said the first outbreaks
            actually began in September.


            Any way you look at it, the date used for Ukraine is wrong. What
            about the others ??

            Also remember that death rate in poultry flocks only reaches real
            catastrophic levels only 3 weeks or more after the index
            case/introduction occurs — so that the “observed date” of first
            reported major outbreak occurs at least one month after the actual
            initial introduction.

            When these aspects are factored into the equation also,
            the “evident” temporal correlations cited in this study may become
            pretty tenuous indeed …

            Post edited by: martin, at: 2006/11/05 10:41

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