Birds

Effect Measure

Category archives for Birds

Yesterday there was a fairly long story from the wire service Canadian Press that wasn’t written by their ace flu reporter, Helen Branswell. It carried the byline of Greg Joyce. I’ll come back to why I mention this at the end of this post, but first, here’s what it was about:

The common cold is probably common because a lot of different viruses cause similar symptoms. We usually treat it symptomatically or just endure it. We rarely expend much time, effort or money identifying which virus caused it. As as a result we undoubtedly haven’t identified all the viruses that can make us miserable in the…

Bird flu resistant GM chickens?

Genetically modified crops is not a special interest of mine, which is a good thing because once you get into that controversy you are like the worker who gets his sleeve caught in the machine: before long you are dragged into the gears and badly mauled. I’m not reflexively against it. I recognize that what…

It’s Thanksgiving Holiday in the US. For many Americans a time to dine on traditional foods with family and friends; for a significant number of Americans a difficult time of loneliness or family tension; for the original Americans, a time to reflect on how European occupiers and invaders took your land and your way of…

Chicken head control

The other day we wrote a post about the reduction in genetic diversity among commercial chicken breeds that attracted a surprising amount of informed comment (surprising to us, anyway; I think it shows more about the general knowledge of a city boy like me than anything else). So while we were on the subject of…

A fascinating paper in CDC’s journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases has more details on a problem we first mentioned, on the basis of news reports, back in June. It’s about a possible relationship between West Nile Virus infection and the mortgage crisis, but the paper also gives a dramatic example of how the physical, biological and…

Vagrant birds and bird flu

I have professional colleagues who are dedicated birders but it has never interested me, and their interests are mainly independent of their lives as epidemiologists, toxicologists or whatever else they do at work. But the biosphere is truly interconnected in strange ways and sometimes what seems an unrelated realm intrudes itself front and center in…

Flu in dogs again, but not H5N1

The index case was a 5 year old Miniature Schnauzer with 5 days of nasal discharge and sneezing. The dog recovered but the next case, a 3 year old Cocker Spaniel wasn’t so lucky, nor were the 2 Korean hunting dogs (Jindos) or a 3 year old Yorkshire terrier. Then 13 dogs in a shelter…

Trust is not transitive, as someone recently pointed out, when reporting on the airline pilot who carried a gun into the cockpit and then accidentally or negligently discharged it and blew a hole in the plane. We had every reason to trust the pilot to be able to fly a 747, but not necessarily to…

Hard on the heels of my semi-facetious prediction that bird flu would return to Germany because Germany had declared itself bird flu free, the Swiss announced an infected wild duck on the shores of Lake Sempach. Since this duck didn’t have a passport on him I am sure he never strayed over the nearby border…