Despite quarantines, cullings, and awareness throughout bird raising communities, bird flu is spreading quite thoroughly throughout the US, with more states having diagnosed cases.
It seems obvious that the initial conclusion—that H5N2 bird flu is being spread by wild migratory birds—was correct, but there are those who disagree, despite continued evidence. The strain is virulent, and some have tried to argue it’s spreading from farm to farm (which is possible, given bird waste, but that would only be in addition to the clear fact wild birds are spreading it).
What does this mean for you?
First and Foremost!: Avoid wild birds. Ducks and geese in particular, but I wouldn’t put a feeder in my kitchen window, either. If you see a bird acting strangely—staggering, lethargic, etc., call your local authorities (wildlife, animal control, whatever is relevant in your county) and report it. Quarantine and culling is helping to protect our meat and egg flocks—so please be proactive!
No humans have contracted H5N2 YET, but given how widespread it is, mutation is generally a matter of time.
Most diseases are particularly deadly when they cross over to humans—like Ebola. But the glass half full looks like this: eventually, they become milder, just an average flu (still high risk for people with weakened immune systems, but not devastating across the board). Why? Simplistically, because viruses need you to be their host—they’d rather you live to spread the disease and get it again another day.
So while a virulent American bird flu outbreak is sort of scary, it won’t be forever.
You should be safe as long as you follow safe food handling practices. Obey best-by dates and freezer rules, wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces after handling raw meat (a wider area than you think was affected—research shows one of the ways germs spread in kitchens is teeny tiny splatters you don’t even suspect), and cook to food-safe temps.
Meanwhile, you can enjoy this other silver lining: chickens and turkeys will probably be even cheaper this year, since many countries are putting import restrictions on our poultry products to avoid the spread of bird flu.
And as always, support yourself. No one wants to be the first person to ride out and be treated for a disease, so in addition to avoiding wild birds, make sure your immune system is strong. You can support your immune system with good nutrition, adequate sleep, exercise, and for an extra boost, colloidal silver.
What are your thoughts on the American bird flu outbreak? #H5n2