Time to duck and cover?

A migratory duck shot by a hunter in Washington state has tested positive for the “highly pathogenic” H5N1 avian bird flu virus:

But, it’s not time to panic:

From the NBC link above:

A green-winged teal shot by a hunter in northern Washington state has tested positive for H5N1 bird flu — a relative of the virus that’s infected nearly 700 people globally and killed 400 of them.

It’s the first case of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza ever seen in the U.S. The good news is that the strain is genetically different from the strain that’s circulated in China, across Asia and most recently in Egypt. It doesn’t appear to have infected any people or even domestic poultry.


The H5N1 that most people are worried about has killed or forced the destruction of hundreds of millions of chickens around the world. It occasionally infects people and the fear is it will mutate into a form that makes it pass easily from person to person. That would spark a pandemic that could kill millions.

And here’s the latest on fighting H5N1 in Africa and the Middle East, where there are reports of hundreds of thousands of infected birds at farms along with some human deaths:

Nigerian officials say they “will successfully control the bird flu outbreak.

Let’s hope, however, that Nigeria is slightly better at controlling bird flu than it is at controlling Boko Haram.



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