Saturday, April 02, 2005

Bird Flu, Equine Encephalitis and Petting Zoo E. coli

On April 1, President G.W. Bush issued a directive that allows the quarantine of anyone entering the United States via international airlines that is suspected of having bird flu. But wait, what if they are suspected of having the swine flu, which scared us all in 1976?

Because avian flu strains may be transmitted to humans from birds, and because wild bird populations migrate over long distances that traverse oceans and continents, scientists and health officials are hoping to avoid a global flu pandemic by studying and tracking the transmission of the flu among or between domestic fowl, wild fowl, and human populations. Follow this link to the Centers for Disease Control web resources concerning bird flu. Very complete list of recent news items concerning the spread of bird flu in Asia is located here, at the The Poultry Site.

Meanwhile, here in Florida, we've just been apprised of the year's first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The affected horse had also been exposed to West Nile Virus. Both of these serious, and in some cases, fatal diseases can be transmitted to humans by mosquitos.

While we're in the category of *diseases spread by animals*, at last count, at least 22 in Florida have been infected with a particularly virulent strain of E. coli from the same traveling petting zoo outfit.

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