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Bird Flu Just Hit Britain


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I think the risk we as hunters are going to be eventually exposed to is infected, mostly stagnant, water like marshes, ponds and small lakes. One infected bird can crap a ton.


Here's a little info I found from CDC that makes sense:


Do not handle or eat sick game.

Wear rubber or disposable latex gloves while handling and cleaning game, wash hands with soap and water (or with alcohol-based hand products if the hands are not visibly soiled), and thoroughly clean knives, equipment and surfaces that come in contact with game.

Do not eat, drink, or smoke while handling animals.

Cook all game thoroughly.


I have always carried an alcohol based hand wash in my blind bag, even before I heard of avian flu. Its just a good idea and I hate having dirty hands. Those confined marshes have got to be cesspools of bacteria and enteric pathogens.


This could just blow over too. What happened to SARS and West Nile??? But, I'm not so sure avian flu is going to go away that easily.


Just some food for thought.

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Short answer - you can eat the birds.


These viruses are carried by birds commonly, and many of them are harmless to wildfowl.

This strain is proving to be different, however and is killing swans.

It's probably killing ducks and geese and other small birds, but they don't stand out the way a dead swan does.


The greatest fear is that the virus will mutate in manner similar to what the Spanish flu did in the 1816.


Although it was caused the Spanish Flu, most experts now agree that the mutation occured in Fort Riley, KS where viruses from poultry and viruses from swine traded genetic charateristics and created something new and very deadly.

Separately, these two viruses were not harmful to the animals or to humans, but as soon as the antigenetic shift took place, it was a whole new ballgame.


Think about the world as it was in 1816-17.

No planes, and global travel was limited.

Even still, that virus spread across all continents and killed 50-100 million people in a year.


The danger to upcoming duck seasons is not so much that the virus may be wiping out waterfowl populations. Nor is it that we will be afraid to go hunting.


The danger is that the policy makers will see the migrating flocks as the bearers of a potentially deadly pandemic, and they will do whatever they think is necessary to keep us away from the ducks, or worse yet, the ducks away from us.

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I agree with Tucker we are getting all excited about a possible future event (the mutation of this virus) that we do not know if it will ever happen. If it does happen rest assured you will know it within the first day they diagnose it, it will be big news. If it does happen you are more likely to get the mutated virus from people not wild birds. As the virus is now I think it is less of a threat to hunters then West Nile Virus was. I did not change my waterfowl hunting one bit for West Nile Virus and we had alot of virus in South Dakota. I do not remember any humen West Nile virus infections being blamed on waterfowl exposure. Of course mosquitoes are the main transmitter of West Nile.

150 or so human deaths of "bird flu" in asia is very low considering the number people at risk. Also the asians live in very close contact with their domestic fowl.

In short if the "bird flu" jumps the Atlantic the chance of a waterfowl hunter getting it from birds he bags is very small.

The road trip to the slough is much more of a risk.

For what it is worth,


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Good topic tucker, haven't seen too much on bird flu here on the forum.


Here in Alaska there are programs set up to sample shot birds this spring. It's a pretty big concern here, since we might see it first. I've been told that between Alaska and Asia there is approximately 180 species of birds that migrate, and between the East Coast and Europe it's about 8. Doubt it will stop me from hunting though.

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Well not to mention that God Told The Appostle John that a third of all living creatures will die in the last days.

So if the last days are here, you better get right with Jesus, Yeshua, Heysus or whatever you call the Son of God!

If they are not, well what better way to track the upcoming plague than through bird banding and hunters kill reports. Waterfowlers could prove to be the most valuable element in tracking and containing this flu.

I for one would rather it be another hype in a global scare game by the global elitist to control us than the real pandemic nightmare.

But if they are going to kill off our waterfowl, then by all means we should do our best to help out. And we better get paid a bounty for every bird we shoot.

If they ban hunting then I will be an outlaw and still hunt my birds.

I don't know about you all, but for me and my house we sill serve the lord and kill ducks!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm sure you received your copy of DU's magazine today. They stated that there has been no reported cases of humans contracting the disease from wild birds anywhere in the world. The article also says there is no evidence that the virus is present in North America in either wild or domestic birds. Great news!

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I read an interesting article in a Vet medicine journal a couple weeks ago. It mentioned that unless the H5N1 strain makes a significant mutation, chances are that it won't infect a large number of people.


The specific cell marker that the virus binds to in humans, lies deep within our lung tissue. They go on to say that the smallest airborne particles will have trouble embedding at the required depths needed to infect humans.


With this being said, we do know that it is still possible to become infected.


With all the restrictions there are regarding large scale poultry and swine operations we certainly stand a better chance than most. What worries me are the smaller scale farms with still decent numbers of poultry that are letting all their animals roam and interact with each other, especially swine. If you get an infected bird in close proximity to swine our chances of the virus mutating to a form that will readily infect us will most definitely increase.


Only time will tell. Very interesting stuff.


[ 05-09-2006, 01:05 PM: Message edited by: Webfoot ]

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May 11, 2006

Despite Predictions, Migrating Birds Didn't Carry Deadly Flu




ROME, May 10 — Defying the dire predictions of health officials, the flocks of migratory birds that flew south to Africa last fall, then back over Europe in recent weeks did not carry the deadly bird flu virus or spread it during their annual journey, scientists have concluded.


International health officials had feared that the disease was likely to spread to Africa during the southward migration and return to Europe with a vengeance during the reverse migration this spring. That has not happened — a significant finding for Europe, because it is far easier to monitor a virus that exists domestically on farms but not in the wild. "It is quiet now in terms of cases, which is contrary to what many people had expected," said Ward Hagemeijer, a bird flu specialist with Wetlands International, an environmental group based in the Netherlands that studies migratory birds.


In thousands of samples collected in Africa this winter, the bird flu virus, A(H5N1), was not detected in a single wild bird, health officials and scientists said. In Europe, only a few cases have been detected in wild birds since April 1, at the height of the migration north.


The number of cases in Europe has fallen off so steeply compared with February, when dozens of new cases were found daily, that specialists contend that the northward spring migration played no role. The flu was found in one grebe in Denmark on April 28 — the last case discovered — and a falcon in Germany and a few swans in France, said the World Organization for Animal Health, based in Paris.


In response to the good news, agriculture officials in many European countries are lifting restrictions intended to protect valuable poultry from infected wild birds.


In the first week of May, the Netherlands and Switzerland rescinded mandates that poultry be kept indoors. Austria has loosened similar regulations, and France is considering doing so. The cases in Europe in February were attributed to infected wild birds that traveled west to avoid severe cold in Russia and Central Asia but apparently never carried the virus to Africa. The international scientists who had issued the earlier warnings are perplexed, unsure if their precautions — like intensive surveillance and eliminating contact between poultry and wild birds — helped defuse a time bomb or if nature simply granted a reprieve.


"Is it like Y2K, where also nothing happened?" asked Juan Lubroth, a senior veterinary official at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, referring to the expected computer failures that did not materialize as 1999 turned to 2000. "Perhaps it is because it was not as bad as we feared, or perhaps it is because people took the right measures."


Still, he and others say, the lack of wild bird cases in Europe only underscores how little is understood about the virus. And scientists warn that it could return to Europe.


"Maybe we will be lucky and this virus will just die out in the wild," Mr. Lubroth said. "But maybe it will come back strong next year. We just don't have the answers."


The feared A(H5N1) bird flu virus does not now spread among humans, although scientists are worried it may acquire that ability through natural processes, setting off a worldwide pandemic. The less bird flu is present in nature and domestically on farms, the less likely it is for such an evolution to occur, they say.


Worldwide, bird flu has killed about 200 humans, almost all of whom were in extremely close contact with sick birds.


Specialists from Wetlands International, who were deputized by the Food and Agriculture Organization, sampled 7,500 African wild birds last winter in a search for the disease. They found no A(H5N1), Mr. Hagemeijer said, so it is not surprising that it did not return to Europe with the spring migration.


While bird flu has become a huge problem in poultry on farms in a few African countries, including Egypt, Nigeria and Sudan, specialists increasingly suspect that it was introduced in those countries through imported infected poultry and poultry products. Mr. Hagemeijer said the strength of the virus among wild birds possibly weakened as the southward migration season progressed, a trait he said was common in less dangerous bird flu viruses. That probably limited its spread in Africa, he said.


A(H5N1) is the most deadly of a large family of bird flu viruses, most of which produce only minor illness in birds.


Many bird flu viruses are picked up by migratory birds in their nesting places in northern lakes during the summer and fall breeding season. As the months pass, the viruses show a decreasing pattern of spread and contamination.


"So it tends to be mostly a north-to-south spread, and then it wanes," Mr. Hagemeijer said.


Still, this means that the cycle could start again this summer, if the virus — which can live for long periods in water — has persisted in those breeding areas. Many bird specialists contend that a small number of wetland lakes in Central Asia and Russia may harbor the virus all the time, serving as the origin of European and Central Asian infections.


Scientists still do not know which birds carry the virus silently and which die from it quickly, or how it typically spreads from wild bird to wild bird, or between wild birds and poultry.


Farm-based outbreaks of bird flu are still occurring constantly in a number of countries, although not in Europe. Ivory Coast had its first outbreak of bird flu, on a farm, last week.


But other countries, like Turkey, have made substantial progress in containing the disease among poultry, Mr. Lubroth said. He added that he hoped that quick measures to limit outbreaks had reduced the virus's spread in Africa.


After the virus was found on farms in Nigeria in January, many specialists expected it to spread rapidly among farms and into wild birds in the region. Apparently, it did not.


"Why didn't it sweep up the coast from Niger, to Benin and Senegal and back up through Europe? Why didn't it hit Africa's big lakes?" Mr. Lubroth asked.


"All we have are a few snapshots of the virus. What we need is a movie of its life cycle."

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  • 2 weeks later...

I do contract work for the poultry industry here in Texas and was invited to a bio security meeting a couple of weeks ago held by one of the companies that I work for. The veternarian that conducted the meeting is an expert on avian/bird flu and does these meetings all around the country. According to him, the virus is a definite concern to all the US poultry industry, BUT the pandemic in humans is very unlikely. He basically told us that, if we (contractors) wear coveralls and disposable foot wear and disinfect our equipment, there is not much chance of us transferring the virus between farms. The virus is supposed to be easy to kill. The vet said that the media is perpetuating the pandemic threat and is a great way to boost TV ratings and newspaper sales.

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Originally posted by Webfoot:

This could just blow over too. What happened to SARS and West Nile??? But, I'm not so sure avian flu is going to go away that easily.

Due to the amount of snowfall we are expected to have a lot more water than usual in our area, and they are expecting a significant increase in the number of West Nile cases this summer due to the increased mosquito populations.


Always good to be cautious when handling game, regardless of any present scare, whether local, national, or global.


You really have to wonder how many people would die if a plague like the one from days gone by hit now. Luckily, most of us rednecks have superior genes anyway.


Right? :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'de like to think so sdkidaho!!


My roommate from college just got his PhD in some form of entomology (love to take him fly fishing with me). Anyway, he said that it is theorized that West Nile infections are higher than we realize. In healthy individuals it rarely even presents itself, so they rarely test for it. Where it might be more noticeable is in the young and elderly who's immune systems are not as potent.


[ 06-16-2006, 06:57 AM: Message edited by: Webfoot ]

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