Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bird flu arrives, cough, cough

Bird Flu has reached Scotland. Odds are the scientists didn't pick up the first bird to arrive in England or Scotland with the infection so I'd guess there's a reasonable chance it's spread already to Ireland. To be honest I'm surprised there was not a confirmed case before now, it's not like there is a glass wall between France and the British Isles. But lets be realistic, the media will have a field day and go into fits about a pandemic but there is no real risk to people at the moment.

Until people start getting sick there is no reason to worry and that's not likely to happen unless someone is living with poultry the way some people do in parts of Asia. Even then there probably isn't much to worry about. If H5N1 eventually does jump to humans, and that's still a big if, you'll more than likely catch it from one of your mates than any bird. I'll avoid the obvious catching diseases from "birds" joke here :-)

So there is no risk, unless of course you own a cat. Apparently they are susceptible to catching it.

Scientists know so little about H5N1 in cats that it is difficult to assess the risk they pose when infected, the virologist Albert Osterhaus from the Erasmus medical centre in Rotterdam and Peter Roeder, from the UN food and agriculture organisation, wrote in tomorrow's issue of Nature.

So if your cat brings you home a dead bird and puts in on the door step best not to leave it there. I knew there was a reason I didn't like cats.

Update 6 April: Bird Flu may be in Northern Ireland.

Update 7 April: Looks like the birds in Northern Ireland got the all clear. They are still dead, of course, but they can be happy in the knowledge that they didnt die of Bird Flu.


-Ann said...

Our back garden has been colonised by cats. One of those glorious afternoons, there were 7 of them insolently lounging in the sun. MIght be time to talk to the neighour about not feeding them.

Declan said...

Buy a dog, a big dog :-)

-Ann said...

I wish. I have been campaigning for a dog for months but, alas, tis not my house.

The trouble is the neighbour puts food out on the roof of his shed, so his yappy dog spends all morning yapping at the cats on the roof (annoyance #1) and then the cats spend all afternoon defecating and fornicating in our garden (annoyances #2 and #3).

I did find a dead baby bird in the garden this morning, but I don't think it had the bird flu. I think it had the plummeted out of the nest flu.

Declan said...

I'm sure you've already looked up ways to scare away cats but try this

I particuarly like the idea of a motion sensor garden sprinkler, I'd get one just for a laugh at BBQs :-)