Saturday, May 20, 2006

H5N1 Outbreak Caused by Chinese Farming Experiment?

Alarm was raised last year when influenza virus serotype H5N1 killed thousands of bar-headed geese at Qinghai Lake in Northwest China. The concern was that as the geese migrated the virus might spread all over Asia and Europe and establish itself througout domestic poulty populations. A full migratory season has passed since then however, and this has proven not to be the case. However it has now come out that the Chinese government has actually been conducting domestication experiments with this same species of wild goose, artificially rearing them on farms in the Qinghai Lake region. This includes raising the geese at high population density, on the very same farms as CHICKENS. Very sketchy. They apparently even re-release some of the geese back into the wild. Also sketchy. With stuff like this going on, it's a small wonder we're seeing new pathogenic strains of virus emerge. The crazy thing these days is that one sketchy little farming experiment on the other side of the world could kill people everywhere if such a virus were to ever go transmissible in humans.