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Where Are The Greatest Risk Area for Bird Flu?
With Bird Flu in the news, people are wondering where it may be safe to avoid this deadly virus. While the answer to this question may be very simple now, in a few weeks or months, it may be a different story.
The first outbreak of the deadly strain of bird flu in humans was in Hong Kong in 1997. A major outbreak then occurred in January of 2004 in Vietnam and Thailand that resulted in the virus popping up in most of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Recently, a low pathogenic form of H5N1, the dangerous form of bird flu, surfaced in Canada. From this, it may be assumed that southern parts of North America, South America, and other countries distanced from Asia are safe. However, with the track record of this virus, that may not be the case.
Without a doubt, the area of greatest risk for Bird Flu currently is Vietnam, where the largest number of infections and death has occurred. Any area in Asia with a large poultry population, from farming or agriculture, is at risk, as consuming infected meat has been a primary cause of becoming infected. On the same note, many countries in Asia, Europe, and recently the Middle East, should be concerned with the possibility of ingested infected poultry. As migratory birds may also carry the disease, it may be extend over widespread areas as well as from agricultural sources.
Likewise, considering the rapid spread of bird flu, the case in Canada should be of concern for residents of North America as well; in less than two years, Asia and Europe were consumed with the disease. Although the case in Canada was a low pathogenic form of H5N1, meaning it is less dangerous, the fact that it made its way to the continent should not be taken lightly and the possibility of the virus spreading south is a very serious threat.
As long as bird flu is being transmitted from poultry to humans, and not from human to human contact, the areas of concern will surround large poultry populations, from wild or agricultural birds. However, if the strain mutates and is passed from human to human, the risk area will grow rapidly and be concentrated in places with high or dense populations. Likewise, areas of particular concern will be those with limited medical care. Areas with advanced medicine that may be able to produce a vaccine may not be as devastated by the mutated strain of the virus.
This article was posted on December 27, 2005