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      Bird flu becoming more serious, more intriguing (!).

      Though Qinghai wild bird deaths have reportedly slowed, there’s speculation that once these birds migrate south, they’ll carry h5n1. Also, some folk fingering migratory birds as source of the outbreak there, though doesn’t seem too likely based on the evidence (partly as no such die-offs reported on migration routes to the south).

      Authors of a recent paper in Nature found the virus in Qinghai is v similar to that from poultry farms in south China, collected this year; suggest the outbreak may result from one introduction from poultry.
      One of the authors of this paper just accused of leaking state secrets.
      Before this, came accusation that the team did not travel to Qinghai to collect samples, and their research lacked credibility. (Team was much as one that helped identify cause of SARS.)

      Some rebuttals for arguments that wild birds have been spreading the nasty h5n1 variant(s) are at:

      A paper appeared at the same time in Science, by mainland researchers (officially sanctioned). Includes sentence saying Qinghai breeding birds migrate as far as Australia and New Zealand.

      The wildlife disease blogspot cites reports from Philippines that authorities there have contingency plan for flu killing wild birds: “the DA and the DOH will isolate a particular spot where there is a daily death of three percent of the bird population. He said two agencies would isolate the area within a three-kilometer radius quarantine area.

      The agriculture secretary added that if findings become positive, the area will be stretched to a seven-kilometer radius and all the birds stamped out.”
      – reported in online version of a Philippines newspaper.

      Just heard on HK radio: researchers have found the virus from Qinghai more deadly than previous (h5n1 variants), killing chickens in 20 hours, mice in three days.


        Over on the Agonist bulletin board, where it seems conspiracy theories are running amok, and the sky’s about to fall in (indeed, back in June I think, the big pandemic was supposed to be underway already; there may indeed be a major pandemic sometime, but Agonist folk may by then have cried "wolf" too often for that board to be reliable), there’s now a thread for: Qinghai Lake Waterfowl Tracking

        Already, for some reason, has info on migrations of Mallard and Canada Geese in North America, with one soul saying he’d watch for their southward progress. V little, by contrast, re actual migrations of Qinghai Lake breeding birds – maybe facts are just too boring. If – IF – the Qinghai bird flu outbreak indeed burns out (seems past peak) before birds migrate south, and migrants are healthy, maybe not asymptomatic carriers – well, I think some folk will be a bit disappointed. But, there will be more red herrings to chase in cyberspace, even as the poultry industry, I suspect, continues nurturing bird flu like a smouldering peat fire.


          news coming in of mystery illness infecting at least 20 farmers in Sichuan; nine dead so far. Don’t yet know it’s bird flu. Yet, no sooner had I posted to Agonist bulletin board a message including: "I guess some folk will now look to see re wild birds moving from Qinghai." – than I see that Henry Niman, at Recombinomics, already suggesting wild birds from Qinghai are responsible. Says it’s snowed at Qinghai already, and birds moving out he figures – never mind that the infected farmers are in Sichuan basin, which is not a migration/wintering area for Qinghai birds like bar-headed geese. (Again, who needs to worry about facts getting in the way of a good story? Sadly, not Niman. :blink: ) I also posted: "Maybe, instead, starting to see there was truth in notions that vaccinating poutry can lead to silent epidemics, and new virus strains. (extra note: This based partly on assumption the Sichuan outbreak is bird flu – which is by no means certain.)

          – and see re Vietnam to start vaccinating poultry, even tho still concerns about this:

          Bird flu vaccines in poultry are controversial. Flu can sometimes spread silently among vaccinated birds, both evading detection and coming under novel selection pressures that can produce new strains. The current virulent strain of H5N1 emerged among vaccinated poultry in China.


            New page on Avian influenza or bird flu and wild birds has good summary, with focus on Qinghai Lake birds, esp Bar-headed Goose – which winters across much of India.


              Thank you for this thread Martin. I am a new member of this (or any) birding group, a longtime bird-lover and habitat supporter n NZ (with not much knowledge of birds). I am also following the Agonist forum, with special interest in the migratory bird intelligence-gathering.

              I’ve read your recent posts and scanned the material on their links, and would very much like to be able to discuss/learn/assess ongoing bird flu and migration background, news and reasoned speculation here in your new forum.

              Have I got the right idea or should I fly on? :)


                Is this of interest to you Martin? It doesn’t say what strain his neighbours’ poultry had, or even if it was actually avian influenza ("Gidak hamlet, Gunungkidul regency in Yogyakartabut") if validation/follow-up data can be had it could be useful. I just googled Gunungkidul and posted a question on an English-language forum of that name. Saw only ads, no posts, so have no idea what the forum was for, or where it was based. Possibly a tourism site…in which case they are unlikely to confirm any bird flu! Will post anything I learn…unless you tell me I’m in the wrong place with this. I won’t be offended.

                Farmer fights bird flu with herbal remedy By Slamet Susanto The Jakarta Post Publication Date : 2005-08-03

                Avian influenza, better known as bird flu, has put many poultry farmers out of business and caused great concern among the public following reports of it infecting humans. But poultry farmer Margono feels secure thanks to his home-grown herbal concoction. Although he has no scientific proof to back the effectiveness of his herbal remedy, the 71-year-old resident of Gidak hamlet, Gunungkidul regency in Yogyakarta, believes it works just fine. For him, it’s proof enough that none of his hundreds of chickens were infected by the bird flu, even as his neighbours’ chickens were being wiped out by the virus. The concoction is made from boiling certain plants and roots found around his home, ranging from wild ginger, turmeric, to salam leaf and cloves. "To test the herbal concoction, I gave it to my chickens and song birds twice a week. I simply mixed it with their drink. "Thank God, it worked. My chickens are healthy and are not attacked by bird flu even though all of my neighbours’ chickens died of it," said the retired policeman. Margono learned to make herbal concoctions in 2000, when he was always falling sick and forced to take medications. Wanting to stay healthy, for the sake of his children, he turned to herbal remedies. "Back then, I regularly suffered from flu and other illnesses. If I kept on taking pills, it would not have been healthy for my body," he argued. Inspired by reports of the popularity of traditional medicines in the mass media, he started looking out for books on herbal medicine. From such books, he studied each plant for its benefits before making his own concoctions from different herbs. For his first trial, he asked his family members to drink his herbal medicine. For a month, each of his family members took the medicine in the morning and the afternoon. "And it feels good. Although I’m old, I still have lots of energy and do not easily get tired," Margono said. Soon, the elderly man started sharing his remedies with his relatives and neighbours. Now, although his herbal medicine carries no special brand, it is gaining popularity, with orders of around 20 bottles per day coming from Central Java cities like Wonosobo, Surakarta and Purworejo. And in the last three months, at a time when bird flu has resurfaced in many cities, including in Margono’s village, he developed a herbal concoction for chickens. The ingredients are the same as those he uses for people, only the concoction for chickens is made by boiling the herbal leftovers. "The concoction is usually boiled twice, but that’s for people. For chickens I boil the leftovers for the third or fourth time," said Margono. He tried his medicine on young chickens which were given the concoction twice a week. "The result was satisfying; none of my chickens died," Margono said. Just like the time when he first introduced his herbal remedy to his neighbours, now Margono is also introducing it to his neighbours’ chickens. "After my chickens and birds stayed healthy, not getting bird flu, now I give it to my neighbours so they can try it too. I give it to them for free. I’m happy if it also works for them," Margono said.


                  Hi Bird Lover:

                  I’d welcome more posts, especially re wild birds and bird flu. (Seems Agonist is weighted towards birds being guilty of spreading bird flu around, too often without even evidence of guilt. [Like shearwaters dying off US coast – seems to be from lack of food, after changes in ocean currents and temperatures.])




                    Thanks for the post – certainly welcome, tho I’d be sceptical re such a cure (not that I’ve a medical background; just seems flu is tough to cure/guard against – tho perhaps the concoction’s a good health tonic that helps immune systems).



                      Thanks Martin. I agree. Bird info is poorly understood by people who have been…and remain…unaware or unconcerned about the state of the environment and the plight of wildlife worldwide. On Agonist I read (but did not post a respnse to):

                      re some (300?) greenfinches died in urban Christchurch recently. "Bird Rescue want answers after many green finches died in Sockburn at the weekend. The small birds died en masse in as yet unexplained circumstances on Saturday which has angered Bird Rescue co-ordinator Linda Cooper. Poisoning of green finches was not illegal because they were not native birds, she said. "But if people could see their suffering, they would think again. Death is not instant. They can suffer for hours," she said. The alarm was raised by Lynn Styles, who found the dead and dying birds as she walked down her driveway after work on Saturday. Dozens of green finches littered the ground, while others were falling out of trees and foaming at the mouth…"

                      Martin, NB Greenfinches are recorded by DOC et al at nearby Banks Peninsula (Dept of Conservation reserve for migratory birds). I would love to know if any testing was done on the possibly poisoned birds. Since such exotic birds pose risks to native ecology, DOC etc are unlikely to have been interested in a possible poisoning…was anyone checking for H5N1? Do you have contacts that could answer this?



                        Thanks for follow-up post.
                        No, I’ve no DOC contacts, though I think it extremely unlikely flu was involved here – partly as these were songbirds (and bird flu mainly infects waterfowl; then, huge distance from the very few known outbreaks in wild birds).

                        I posted this to an Agonist thread on species infected by bird flu – starting to get annoyed with the cavalier blame birds attitude prevailing there (with Niman in his office working thro DNA tests and pronouncing on “the story”, when only has v partial info).

                        Ah yes, those asymptomatic wild birds [Niman suggests are spreading bird flu] no one has found [if enough asmptomatic birds flying about with this very nasty strain of bird fly, there would surely be plenty of other birds dying]

                        Never mind that scientists have tested thousands of apparently healthy wild birds for h5n1 here in HK, not found it. (Found in a very few dead wild birds, for sure; and peregrines evidently from captivity; mostly in ornamental birds here – even flamingos, black swans across in Shenzhen. [which migrate about as much as a household pet])

                        But, birds die some place in the world, and here on the Agonist, it’s gotta be bird flu, right? Obvious really. [It can’t be that with ocean changes, shearwaters can starve – that’s ridiculous eh? etc etc]

                        (And yes, reports from Russia now are worrisome.)

                        Real bogey man is farming – intensive farming; helped spawn the S. suis outbreaks in Sichuan, too. Add SARS to that, and whatever else.

                        After a few responses, posted:

                        Those Penfold Park waterfowl were ornamental, just as the flamingos at same time.

                        Like zoo birds. (Anyone trying to suggest the Thailand zoo tigers might be spreading bird flu?” Wouldn’t surprise me here on the Agonist)
                        A wild egret or two at Penfold Park also died of bird flu; in hk, most little egrets are resident, so may well have been just collateral damage.

                        At same time, none of the thousands of waterbirds at nearby Deep Bay/Mai Po wetland affected. none But hey, who cares about such things?

                        Yes, Russian cases might be from migratory birds; but might be, despite definite pronouncements from people sitting at computers in US.
                        Shearwaters with bird flu notions just barmy, without testing/proof.

                        So far, other purported spreads by wild birds looking bad.
                        And of course govts ready to blame wild birds. Who wants to really finger farms? (When HK authors showed problems in farms – inc continuing h5n1 in se China poultry – it was said to be releasing state secrets, and research curtailed.
                        You think that if wild birds really were behind it, there’d be such secrecey and lack of info sharing? )

                        Bah! – real science would be good here.
                        Sadly wanting, even from major organisations (WHO, say – but not an animal health organisation; rather seems int organisation for animal health – OIE – is content to take officials’ comments as gospel, never mind science; or too timid to question? [after email from WHO spokesperson, I tried emailing OIE, no response]).

                        Post edited by: martin, at: 2005/08/08 04:19


                          Totally with you re attitudes. And solutions. And fundamental causes. However I see no reason to doubt the poor wild birds are getting it and spreading it. (And why shouldn’t they, albeit involuntarily, get some of their own back… 47% of seabirds in an NZ study had stomachs full of plastic..global warming…”development at any cost”….long-lining…battery farming…dioxins…etc etc.)

                          However pls see the message I sent you on Agonist re MaiPo. Looking forward to yr answer.


                            Thanks Martin, I accessed that page earlier via yr home page. I even led the Ags to it, after some consideration. They may pick up some awareness of some of the OTHER beings on the planet….who knows.


                              Any word on the dead/lost tracked shy albatrosses from Tasmania? I know they were in great peril from starvation and long-lines anyway, so I didn’t post that to Ag. But were they tested for H5N1? I want to know because some NZ species migrate only between Tas/NZ I believe. AND I’m very very sad about the albatrosses for WHATEVER reason.


                                對於其他遊客:Jibidee 要求在 94 年春天重新關閉米埔。


                                是的,米埔被政府關閉了一個月左右——作為某種預防措施,儘管那裡沒有禽流感。 (我認為這很荒謬,但認為這可能對鳥類有一點幫助;以某種方式引入禽流感的可能性較小)。

                                我當時正在幫一個人拍電影,我們得到了進入的許可;有一次,我在齊膝深的池塘裡涉水,那裡有數百隻野鴨——估計水中會有普通的禽流感,但不會是農場飼養的 h5n1。


                                  發射器安裝在 18 隻信天翁上,這些信天翁於 5 月出發參加「競賽」。現在所有的傳輸都遺失了,所有的鳥顯然都死了。
                                  當然,在激動劑上,毫無疑問,re h5n1 是罪魁禍首;但實際上,主要原因是固定電話,而不是流感。

                                  模特兒傑瑞霍爾的信天翁贏得了大鳥競賽 ——國家地理網站,七月中旬報道。

                                  跨洋競賽中信天翁全數死亡 – Mongabay.com 稍後報道



                                    Yes Martin that’s the albatross I meant. I agree on Ag it’s EIBF…Everything Is Bird Flu…on the other hand I see no reason why it should NOT be considered in any massed bird deaths, though it might not be publicised.

                                    I see in Russia they’re “hunting” the “the infected birds flying overhead”….!!! (Presumably serum was obtained via flying dart, and the bird tracked while testing was carried out…irony). Agonist raises good issues about the increased spread of virus this way via carrion, to household pets etc. Also, maybe asymptomatic birds will spread a reduced-pathogenicity strain that gives some level of immunity, either to humans or to birds? cf smallpox/cowpox?

                                    Re greenfinches and forest birds…why should they not get flu if they are cohabiting or co-feeding with infected waterfowl? And do you think H5N1 testing is so active that we would know of newly infected areas as migrating birds return to our (largely uninhabited) shores? These are my sincere and open questions, by the way!

                                    Thanks for the answer re MaiPo. I hoped that was it.

                                    Please advise me how not to keep mucking up the threads. And I even put the wrong answer in “name” on my first one. Feel free to delete/edit my posts to correct this if you can.



                                      Vet Pathol 40:14-24 (2003) © 2003 American College of Veterinary Pathologists

                                      Varied Pathogenicity of a Hong Kong–origin H5N1 Avian Influenza Virus in Four Passerine Species and Budgerigars L. E. L. Perkins and D. E. Swayne United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, 934 College Station Road, Athens, GA "..AI viruses have been isolated from numerous wild and domestic avian species, and wild waterfowl are regarded as the primordial reservoir hosts of these viruses…" This statement is pretty clear and is stated throughout the literature… that statement by no means is an out for the pitiful and filthy way that chickens and other animals are farmed, and in no way reduces that fact that the farming methods will obviously contribute to the explosion of the pandemic flu as I feel the route of transmission will be from the wild waterfolws, to the farmed poultry, possibly to swine and then human to human… and since SE asia has all of that living together in filth and poverty it will emerge from there most liekly.




                                        對於鳴禽,尤其是森林鳥類,我認為與鳥糞/稀釋糞便的接觸要困難得多——因此禽流感的發生率較低。 (我在資訊和連結頁面中引用的一篇論文顯示了類似的內容)。

                                        因此,由於雀類(尤其是許多雀類)感染的可能性不大,再加上數千公里內沒有已知的h5n1,也沒有任何跡象表明它更接近(例如,h5n1 不太可能導致新西蘭的水鳥死亡),我認為測試是多餘的。





                                          – 使用一種已知能殺死一系列物種的病毒(h5n1變種,或當前變種家族的一部分),從火烈鳥到鴨子、鵝和烏鴉,再到老虎、貓和人類,用它感染一些圈養的鳴禽,並發現嘿,他們(大部分)死了。

                                          是的,我相信你對於通往人類之路的看法大體上是正確的。 (各種文獻都表明了這一點。)


                                          1. 從野生鳥類身上取得高致病性禽流感(甚至輕度致病性)-它很少或不會造成明顯問題;並且不能感染人類。


                                          3. 允許其發展;也許在家禽(由於上述原因,野生原雞可能很少感染流感,因此存在物種障礙)。

                                          4. 如果條件合適的話,快點! – 您所獲得的病毒株/變種也可能對人類造成問題。 (根據我讀過的內容,這可能導致了一波又一波的流感爆發/大流行,這對我們來說可能是危險的新病毒。)

                                          額外步驟 5,針對 h5n1:為家禽接種疫苗。如果《新科學家》是對的,這會讓新的令人討厭的病毒——被《新科學》稱為 h5n1 變種的「超級流感」在家禽中悶燒,看起來有點像豌豆火。



                                          但到目前為止,野生鳥類還不是 h5n1 變種的有效載體,而家禽業已將其傳播到亞洲大部分地區。

                                          因此,野生鳥類很容易成為替罪羔羊。很容易受到揮舞手臂的指責。 (然而,我也關注青海鳥類向南遷徙的報導。我的猜測:到那時,h5n1 將會在它們中間消失。但是,這是一個猜測。)


                                            Thanks Martin for answers

                                            next time I’ll put different issues in different threads

                                            BTW Monkeyes posted to yr 2004 Bird Flu & Wild birds thread at Agonist, bringing the thread up front where I could see it and I brought myself up to speed with that discussion. (Not that I remember ALL of it)


                                              繼 Agonist 的青海鳥類追蹤貼文中再次提及在香港公園死於 h5n1 的鴨子和鵝,並提到在廣東鵝中發現 h5n1 後,我發文:偉大的海鷗。在遠離掠食者的地方築巢,這些掠食者會突然鑽入洞穴並吃掉幼崽、卵和成蟲。因此,近海島嶼受到青睞——除了其他築巢的海鳥之外,幾乎沒有其他鳥類的地方。折扣海鷗;幻想的境界。 (它們很像信天翁,靠近典型的海洋鳥類;甚至可以喝海水,透過喙上的管子排出鹽分。

                                              你看到的任何海鷗都是海鷗,與海鷗截然不同,生活在沿海甚至內陸。)當然,對於潛在的媒介,你會想要更容易透過糞便到口腔途徑感染的鳥類(我認為這是鳥類的關鍵途徑) :鴨子、鵝和天鵝大部分時間生活在水中,其中一些物種在草上吃草(邊走邊排泄)——我認為這解釋了為什麼這些鳥類自然感染普通禽流感,而且它們不受此類普通流感的影響。

                                              當然,還有家禽——你曾經在中國的一些家禽養殖場內看到過一些鏡頭,裡面有大量的鳥類,密密麻麻,周圍有大量的糞便漿液(與試圖清理的水混合在一起——從養殖場排出的徑流)。清潔可能會影響水道,從而提供另一種可能傳播的方式)?廣東的鵝都是養殖場的。 (鵝在中國更北的地方過冬;它們是耐寒的鳥類,不會飛到很遠的南方——斑頭雁是例外,仍然堅韌,但無法在喜馬拉雅山以北的地方過冬,所以大部分飛過它們飛往印度.)

                                              更確切地說,如火烈鳥,以及香港所有記錄有h5n1的鴨子和鵝。看一下我的“死鴨子不會飛”和“信息”以及有關禽流感頁面的鏈接,我在其中嘗試收集2004 年夏季左右野生鳥類中的禽流感報告。如果您有更多可信的報告,請告訴我知道。 (以前看這裡就不需要不必要地張貼香港觀賞鳥類,就好像它們是野生的一樣。同樣,深圳的黑天鵝死於禽流感。再說一次,就像那些泰國動物園的老虎一樣「野生」。再說一次,我們人類鳥類受害者,而不是媒介。)



                                                If the virus kills poultry in 20 hours and mice in 3, what happens if the mice carrying the virus get into homes? Would there be a chance of the virus from mice to humans?


                                                  If the virus kills poultry in 20 hours and mice in 3, what happens if the mice carrying the virus get into homes? Would there be a chance of the virus from mice to humans?



                                                    也就是說:在中國發生了所有家禽感染之後,肯定有許多老鼠(和老鼠)曾在受感染的雞及其糞便附近,有時接觸過受感染的雞及其糞便。但據我所知,沒有關於野生小鼠/大鼠感染 H5N1 的記錄。

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