Leave the wild birds alone, expert pleads

21st October 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 October 2005, AMSTERDAM — Governments should not take extraordinary measures against migrating birds to prevent the spread of avian flu, Dutch virologist Albert Osterhaus said on Friday.

21 October 2005

AMSTERDAM — Governments should not take extraordinary measures against migrating birds to prevent the spread of avian flu, Dutch virologist Albert Osterhaus said on Friday.

A birds protection group Vogelbescherming has claimed such measures could have a counterproductive effect. For instance, some countries in Asia and the Middle East are considering draining regions with a lot of lakes and rivers to combat the risk of migrating birds spreading avian flu.

The Dutch organisation said birds that lose their habitats in this way "use more energy, become weak and are more vulnerable to illness". The birds will nevertheless seek out new territories, increasing the chance of spreading avian flu, Vogelbescherming said.

Osterhaus is also against taking such measures against migratory birds. "Driving them away won't solve the problem," he said. The expert on viruses said that wild ducks are most likely responsible for spreading the bird flu from Asia to Europe.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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