Monday, November 07, 2005

Warnings About Avian Flu & Economic Impacts

I have to admit that I have not been giving the danger of the “H5N1 Bird Flu” much serious thought, but it appears that there is a growing concern that real danger of a pandemic is possible. Hugh Hewitt has been covering the story, and posts on the latest:


Per Hewitt via the WSJ Avian Flu News Tracker:

Authorities ordered all live poultry markets in China's capital to close immediately and went door-to-door seizing chickens and ducks from private homes, as the government dramatically beefed up its fight against bird flu.

Sounds like some pretty drastic measures………………..

Reading the AP story they made a point that I think could be a major driving consideration:

Another task is to compensate farmers for culls. If too little is offered, farmers may hide an outbreak of disease; if too much is offered, they may be tempted to deliberately infect their birds, said Brahmbhatt.

I don’t doubt for one minute that at the bottom layers of the poultry industry, the economic factors are in play that could and probably do prevent the culling of birds that are sick and need to be culled. Getting poor or struggling farmers to kill infected birds has to be difficult due to the economic impact it has on them personally. I also don’t doubt that if an economic program existed that made it more financially attractive to cull sick birds, that some producers could intentionally infect their livestock to gain the economic advantages.

The economic impact in total is already standing at 10 billion dollars, and a full scale pandemic could approach 800 billion dollars, aside from the estimated 1 million deaths to humans……………………………………..