Sunday, May 03, 2009

August, 2007 : Bird Flu-Infected Chickens Fed To Pigs In Bali

Is This Where HumanBirdPig Flu Began?

By Darryl Mason

The World Health Organisation rejected a hopeless campaign by The Orstrahyun to have the new swine flu virus officially titled Pork Throat. Instead, the WHO has gone with Influenza A H1N1 as its official reference term for the new influenza virus, which contains the genes of human, bird and pig flu strains.

This retitling has led to an immediate downturn of interest amongst the public in the pandemic potential of the virus, which may have been part of the intention of giving this bizarre influenza such an academic, book lurnin' name.

But, to shift into serious news mode, how did strains of pig, human and bird flu first meet up, and start swapping genes in order to mutate into Influenza A H1N1?

There are theories, but nothing solid. Yet.

A possible source, or at least a scenario where such an unlikely blending of influenza viruses could have taken place, can be found in this report on two human deaths from the H5N1 (bird flu) virus back in September, 2007 :

Suyono said there had been sick chickens around the woman's house and many had died suddenly in recent weeks.

"The villagers didn't burn the carcasses. Instead they buried them or fed them to pigs," Suyono added.

Contact with sick fowl is the most common way for humans to contract the H5N1 virus.

Human to human transmission of the bird flu virus was believed to be occuring in Bali, by August 2007, though it did not prove to be highly transmissible, and further infections were usually contained within Balinese families living amongst bird-flu infected poultry, or those caring for bird-flu infected relatives.

You'll probably see this story in next week's Sunday Telegraph as well.