Friday, January 16


While we sit around arguing in the U.S. about whether one cow with BSE represents a serious health threat, an outbreak of another zoonotic disease, bird flu, is sweeping several Asian Pacific countries. Japan has reported one outbreak, while the WHO links a Vietnam outbreak to the deaths of 10 people, noting that this same flu has also sickened and killed thousands of chickens in South Korea and Japan. How serious is it? As of today, Vietnam has banned the sale of poultry in its largest metropolis, Ho Chi Minh City. Meanwhile, as though stuck in another era, WHO investigators now are really really sure that SARS comes from animals used for food - stop the presses! - and one epidemiologist spells it out for the slow-of-grasping: "By and large, most of the diseases that have appeared in the past 10 years have, in the end, turned out to be from an animal source." Coincidentally, on the same day, a study found that another modern scientific terror, the Ebola virus, probably comes from the same source as AIDS, namely "Bush Meat" - primates killed for food.

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