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Bird Flu - Archives

United Kingdom

Guns for Doctors
Headline from The Times of London:

If bird flu grips the nation, doctors will need guns
February 12th, 2007


One OK, Another Being Tested
A vet being tested for possible bird flu infection has been cleared of the disease. But a second worker is now being tested.
February 8th, 2007


Uh Oh

A government vet who had been helping at the site of the British bird flu outbreak is now in hospital with "mild respiratory problems". Stay tuned.
February 7th, 2007

Always Look on the Bright Side
While conceding that "recession on a scale not seen since the 1930s is a possibility", the website finds some winners from the British bird flu outbreak, namely three drugs companies, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and Acambis.

Meanwhile, "the UK poultry industry was today facing meltdown over the bird flu outbreak in England as the list of countries banning imports grew to at least six".
February 7th, 2007

Pandemic - Britain Getting Ready
Britain prepares for a human flu pandemic. Meanwhile, virus expert Professor John Oxford answers your questions.
February 5th, 2007


Bird Flu in the UK
The European Commission says tests have confirmed that the avian flu which killed 2,600 turkeys at a Suffolk farm is the H5N1 virus.
February 3rd, 2007


British Poultry Worker Has Bird Flu

A worker at the Norfolk farm where the H7 strain of bird flu was confirmed this week has developed an eye infection caused by avian flu. He has been given the drug Tamiflu, but has no respiratory symptoms and is not in hospital.

April 29th, 2006


Did a Workman's Boot Cause a Bird Flu Outbreak?
Britain's latest bird flu scare is still thought to be the H7 strain. How did it begin? The Times reports:

Infected faeces from a wild bird carried into a chicken shed on a workman’s boot are thought to be the most likely source of a bird flu outbreak on a farm in Norfolk.

Such a breach in biosecurity will be of major concern to Britain’s £3 billion-a-year poultry industry, which prides itself on the strict hygiene, cleansing and disinfecting standards observed on commercial farms.

April 28th, 2006


More Bird Flu in Britain
Some 35,000 British chickens are to be killed, after bird flu was found in samples of dead birds. Early tests suggest it is the H7 strain, less dangerous than H5N1.
April 27th, 2006


Bird Flu Tourism
The discovery two weeks ago of an H5N1-infected dead swan at the Scottish village of Cellardyke was expected to spell economic disaster for the region. Instead, reports Britain's Sunday Times, there's been a modest tourism boom.

What attracted the tourists, apparently, were pictures of Cellardyke’s whitewashed harbourside cottages and its craw-stepped gables flashing up on television screens. These images were supported by reports that conjured up the sound of little fishing boats knocking against the harbour wall. 

...“The pictures were brilliant,” says Eleanor Bowman,...proprietor of the Craw’s Nest hotel in Anstruther, just half a mile from Cellardyke. “The place looked lovely. The weather was terrific.”

April 24th, 2006


Paranoia in Britain

The headline in Britain’s The Times says it all: “Never mind H5N1: virulent outbreaks of bird flu phobia are on the horizon.”


No sooner had Sir David “Don’t Panic!” King, the Government Chief Scientist, reassured us at the weekend about the “very low” chance of a human outbreak, than a letter from Sir Liam “We’re Doomed” Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, revealed plans to close all schools if and when that outbreak occurs, supposedly to limit the predicted death toll to 50,000 rather than 100,000 children. Just the thing to jolly up the holidays.

April 14th, 2006


Bird Flu Bites Britain

Villagers in Cellardyke, where the infected swan was found, have criticized authorities for their lax response:

The woman who found the dead bird complained that it took until the next day for government vets to collect the carcass.


Astonishment greeted the fact that no police or health officials initially rushed to the site of what became Britain's first confirmed case of the H5N1 virus.


Villagers were left to take their own precautions, one resorting to fashioning a simple scrawled cardboard sign - "dead swan do not touch" - to warn holidaying children and dog walkers.


A leading vet says the virus has probably already spread to other birds in the vicinity.


The Scottish environment minister has attacked the Waitrose supermarket group for apparently saying that it did not stock eggs or poultry from Scotland, where the diseased swan was found. In fact, egg and poultry sales have so far remained strong, in sharp contrast to most other countries hit by bird flu.

April 8th, 2006


Time to Panic?

H5N1 has been confirmed in the UK. But the real panic probably won’t begin until it hits the US,

April 7th, 2006


Life Style Extra - Plague Pits

Here’s an expression I didn’t know – plague pits. And, of all places, I found it on the Life Style Extra website:


More than a third of a million British victims of bird flu are to be buried in plague pits if an outbreak of the deadly disease takes hold, a leaked government report revealed.


Mass burials similar to the plague pits used when the Black Death swept through Britain in the 17th Century will be enforced should the H5N1 strain of the virus mutate and infect humans.

April 3rd, 2006


It Is Crazy That People Are Doing This
Now the British are dumping their pet birds, and bird flu hasn’t even arrived in the country (yet). According to the
Norwich Evening News:

Budgies, chickens, pigeons and ducks have all been abandoned in the past few weeks by people believing they might be at risk of contracting the killer avian flu.


Sanctuary bosses have warned pet owners they do not have the capacity to take more birds. However, in just three weeks, 58 birds have been left at Hallswood sanctuary in Stratton Strawless and even more chickens and cockerels at the PACT animal sanctuary in Hingham. Two budgies died after being left at Hallswood last Sunday in freezing conditions.


George Rockingham, from PACT, said so far four cockerels had been dropped off at the roadside and brought to his premises, but he expected a lot more.


“The problem is ignorance,” Mr Rockingham said. “It is crazy that people are doing this because they are worried about bird flu.

March 11th, 2006


British Turkey Sales Remain Firm

Bird flu fears didn’t seem to hurt US turkey consumption this Thanksgiving. In the UK, where turkey is the most popular Christmas dish, it also seems likely the impact of bird flu will be muted, although some industry sources are reporting a slight move towards roast beef.


According to Reuters:


Britain's major supermarket chains have reported that turkey demand has held up well so far this year but sales and prices are down at London's Smithfield market where meat has been traded since the 12th century.


"Orders (for fresh turkey) are down 35 to 40 percent. It is because of bird flu without a doubt," said Smithfield meat trader Greg Lawrence, adding he mainly supplies small butchers.


…Peter Bradnock, Chief Executive of the British Poultry Council, noted that only a small proportion of turkeys were traded at the wholesale market in Smithfield with most consumers buying from supermarkets or even direct from turkey farms.


"We don't think that stories about bird flu in late October are going to influence any purchasing decisions before Christmas," he said, noting the widespread media interest in the bird flu virus which followed news it had reached eastern Europe in late October had now died down.

December 22nd, 2005


The Dead Duck and the Dead Parrot

A dead duck in Sweden did not die from H5N1. But a dead parrot in Britain did.

October 24th, 2005


Now Britain

The Times reports:


A PARROT held in quarantine has died of avian flu - the first case of the disease in Britain since 1992 - the Government announced last night. It was infected with the H5 virus, but it has not been confirmed whether this was H5N1, the most deadly strain of the disease. The bird, which died two days ago, was one of a consignment of 148 from Surinam, in South America, which arrived in Britain on September 16.

October 22nd, 2005