Two months ago Germany reported H5N1 in asymptomatic ducks and geese.
Now the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization is saying this may be
a sign that there is already a reservoir of hidden infection in
healthy domestic birds in Europe. The FAO points to a huge popuation
of chicken and waterfowl in the Black Sea area that are similar to
asian bird populations and in contact with them via migration. FAO
wants more surveillance of domestic ducks and geese in some eastern
European countries that have not kept up as much as their western
“It seems that a new chapter in the evolution of avian
influenza may be unfolding silently in the heart of Europe,” said
Joseph Domenech, the organization’s chief veterinary officer, in the
This seems like a very curious thing for FAO to say and makes me
suspect FAO has already been reading the opening of the new chapter
without telling the rest of us. They make it sound like they are just
making a plausible speculation. It’s hard not to suspect they know
more than they are telling.
That’s what happens when the record of transparency is, well, cloudy.