stupidest pseudo-science re h5n1 and wild birds

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    Martin W

      So far, not much info here (largely as omitting the great steaming mounds of stupid stuff about migratory birds from Niman – partly covered in another thread here).

      Right now, though, a quote from FAO – a bulletin on avian influenza, which pointed finger at wild birds as major carriers even though conclusions included:

      Wild birds found to have been infected with HPAI [=H5N1] were either sick or dead. This could possibly affect the ability of these birds to carry HPAI for long distances.

      in avibull 033, 1 Sept 2005 – which warned of wild birds spreading H5N1 from Asia, and led with – stupidity alert! stupidity alert! – a photo of Snow Geese, a North American species.

      Post edited by: martin, at: 2005/12/09 09:45

      Martin W

        Loads more stupidity on show in a 21 October 2005 article in Live Science –
        Deadly Flu Will Reach U.S., Says Bird Migration Expert
        Can’t say how much of this is attributable to woeful writing, and how much to the babblings of the supposed “expert”. Ah well, here goes:

        An expert in bird migration patterns said today it is only a matter of time before the avian flu virus reaches the United States and the rest of North America.

        No corner of the planet is immune, he said.

        “By knowing the migratory patterns of birds and areas where species overlap while traveling between their breeding sites and winter grounds, one can predict precisely where problems will occur,” said Thomas Van’t Hof, an ornithologist at Wright State University in Ohio.
        [This is untrue, as shown by outbreaks in HK 2002, east Asia 2003/2004, and north Asia/Europe this year.]

        “The disease will probably end up in Africa this year,” Van’t Hof told LiveScience. “This is very likely to happen.”
        [That was wrong. Hasn’t even ended up in migratory birds in other parts of Asia this autumn. So much for his notion that can “precisely” predict where wild birds will carry H5N1.]

        It is harder to say when it will hop the Atlantic, he said, but that could happen next year, based on known migration patterns.
        [and, err, why not suggest it will cross the Pacific? – there are people on lookout in Alaska, but no virus detected there]

        The flying flu

        Birds migrating south from China likely made contact with species in Bangladesh and Burma that were migrating west through southern India to Turkey, Van’t Hof explains. This is how the virus reached Russia and Eastern Europe.
        [What a pile of poop regarding migration routes! Aaargh – is this the standard of “expert” the US has these days? No wonder so many people in US believe in intelligent design but not global warming.]

        Birds from Europe are now flying south through Turkey. Soon, Africa will be exposed.
        [More half-baked nonsense!]

        Next spring, when infected birds migrate to the Arctic to nest, they will mix with birds from North America, Van’t Hof explained.

        The virus is carried by waterfowl, which migrate long distances, increasingly the likelihood it will spread around the globe. How quickly it reaches North America will depend on how many infected birds mix with other fowl in nesting areas, and how close the nests are to each other. But eventually, it will spread.
        [what evidence is there for waterfowl carrying H5N1? Potent evidence for them dying of it. But carrying?]

        “There is really no populated area of the world that will be immune,” Van’t Hof said.
        [Yikes – so we’re living in a B-grade horror movie!?]

        Come on, Dr Van’t Hof, put on the dunce’s cap and stand over there in the corner. Don’t come out until you have something valid to say.

        Martin W

          Are idiots running amok at high levels of the FAO?

          from a recent news release,

          Bird flu virus could spill over to Africa and Europe in springtime
          Fighting the disease in animals is crucial to win the battle against the

          18 January 2006, Beijing – The avian influenza virus … could be further spread by migratory birds particularly coming from Africa in the spring, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned today.

          – this despite paucity of evidence that wild birds can sustain and spread H5N1
          – and no evidence there is H5N1 in Africa

          Still fingering wild birds perhaps convenient for FAO, perhaps avoiding any highlighting of potential problems resulting from integrated farming practices, such using chicken manure as feed and fertiliser in fish farms – which have been extensively promoted by, err, the FAO.


            Speaking of birds, do you people have your heads completely buried in the sand? If migratory birds are not reservoirs, why then, is the spread of H5N1 in birds following migratory pathways? Southeast Asia to Eastern Europe. As of this writing, Nigeria is testing birds for H5N1. If confirmed, the occurence of H5N1 outbreaks in birds and humans in these areas completely confirms everything Thomas Van’t Hof predicted in October 2005: H5N1 in Europe and Africa by the spring. I’d suggest you open your minds, shut your mouths, and educate yourself on the reality of the situation.

            Martin W

              Why following only very few migratory pathways? [ever checked, say, route of Trans-Siberian rail lines]
              (And u care to show me someplace that isn’t on a migratory pathway)
              Why not in Asian waterbirds this winter? There are migratory pathways here too, you know.
              Have you seen, for instance, autumn migration routes from Qinghai Lake?

              But, u wanna keep believing in dead birds carrying H5N1, go ahead.

              Post edited by: martin, at: 2006/02/06 02:06


                I don’t know how stupid this pseudo-science is, but it sure looks some study points the finger squarely at wild duck (not dead ones mind you..,) carrying H5N1 without any evident pathological symptoms.

                Here’s the link to an article in “The New Sceintist”:


                The study mentioned in the article draws some conclusions that wild ducks carrying H5N1 in China make the virus virtually endemic, that the strains of the virus found in market poultry and in wild birds are identicle, that the strains haven’t changed (as would be expected if the virus came and went in waves,) that the virus is identicle to that found in Quinghai Lake event, and that it is similar to the virus identified in Turkey.

                I think it adds strength to the idea that wild birds are strongly implicated in the spread of the virus.

                “It is terribly important to realise that perfectly healthy looking birds have this damn virus.”



                Martin W

                  Yes, paper showing live ducks capable of flying with H5N1; haven’t shown they actually transmit it, tho of course plausible.

                  The existence of distinct clusters also means the main carriers cannot be wide-ranging birds – instead, most transmission is via local poultry movements. Co-author Malik Peiris, of the University of Hong Kong, told New Scientist: “If there had been repeated waves of virus introduced into, for example, Yunnan, one would expect multiple sub-lineages of the virus. But in each place there is only one.”

                  surely important

                  Long distance transmission

                  But wild birds are involved. The team found H5N1 in six apparently-healthy migratory ducks at Poyang Lake in Jiangxi province, which borders Guangdong and Hunan, in January and March 2005, before the northward migration. The isolates had all the genes, and certain specific mutations, later found in geese at Qinghai Lake, 1700 kilometres northwest. And this virus, notes Peiris, is very like H5N1 in Turkey.

                  but, these places not linked by major migration routes; Poyang winter birds don’t – for vast majority – move to Qinghai, instead to Mongolia, ne China and beyond.

                  The team also tested whether the Poyang viruses would make ducks too sick to fly by infecting young mallards. “Most got a bit sick then recovered,” says Webster, and all shed virus for up to a week. “The evidence is now overwhelming that migrating birds can move H5N1 over long distances,” says Peiris. “But they are not the scapegoats for maintaining H5N1 within poultry. There the cause and solution lies within the poultry industry.”

                  Just had a read of paper; plenty of questions arise tho too tired after long day in field to do much now; may open separate thread.

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