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Bangladesh Slaughters 150,000 Birds After Worst H5N1 Virus Outbreak In 5 Years 76

An anonymous reader writes in with news about a bird flu outbreak in Bangladesh. "At least 150,000 chickens and 300,000 eggs have been destroyed at a giant poultry farm near Dhaka in Bangladesh after the major outbreak of avian flu was detected last week, officials said Wednesday. This season's bird flu outbreak was the worst in five years. Officials at Bay Agro at Gazipur detected the deadly H5N1 flu strain 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Dhaka on Monday after dozens of birds died, which had prompted the poultry company to send samples to a laboratory for testing. 'There are about 150,000 chickens at the farm. We have already killed and destroyed 120,000 chickens and we will kill the rest today,' livestock department director Mosaddeq Hossain said, according to AFP. Hossain said that it was the worst avian flu outbreak in five years."
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Bangladesh Slaughters 150,000 Birds After Worst H5N1 Virus Outbreak In 5 Years

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  • Biology 101 (Score:5, Informative)

    by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @02:04PM (#42405051) Homepage

    There is signifcant risk. You can get sick from eating it.

    NO. YOU. CAN'T.

    First and fore most:
    - Influenza is a virus.
    - It doesn't have a biochemistry of its own, it must use its host's. outside of a cell it's just an inert object.
    - It is produced by one infected cell in the sick individual. And needs to reach a fresh cell within its (short) life time.
    (its a virus containing RNA, and not encapsulated in a protein shell but in a lipid membrance. This means it won't survive long without a host cell whose biochemistry to use).
    In short: that means that it must be quickly sneezed onto someone else (aerosol and particulate transmission). IT CANNOT STAY LURKING FOR A LONG TIME OUTSIDE IT'S PREVIOUS HOST UNTIL IT MEETS A NEW ONE.
    This a *virus* (and a fragile one). Not a *bacteria*, not a *bacteria's spore*. Not a parasite. Nor one of the few more durable viruses wich might, under the right condition, resist a longer time until finding a new host (HIV viruses hidden inside the needle of a used syringe can survive a few hours before finding a new host)

    - That means you need a living host, with living cell secreting viruses to transmit it.
    - A fried émicé in a nice curry sauce sevred along a side dish of rice *DEFINITELY FAILS* the "living cell" definition.

    Also, if you're cooking impaired:
    - poultry meat is ALWAYS served thoroughly cooked. chicken are rather filthy animals and if you don't cook their meat, you're at high risk of food poisoning due to parasites, bacteria, and other stuff. Influenza is the least of your problems. YOU CAN'T EAT CHICKEN RAW.
    - cooking destroys and sterilise almost anything (the only exception are prions. prions could somewhat survive some amount of cooking and still be able to replicate afterward. mad cow disease CAN BE transmitted by cooked food, but that's an exception)
    - viruses will be *COMPLETELY DESTROYED* during the cooking (along with all the other bad stuff. this make the food safe and edible. cooking was invented exactly for this purpose) the only usual risks that remain after cooking are non infectious but chemical (pollution, toxins, poison).

    Last but not least:
    - Avian flu (H5N1) is *A. BIRD. DISEASE*.
    - It's got a Haemagglutinin 5 (H5) on its surface - that's were it's codename comes from.
    - H5 binds to bird cell. It can easily infect birds.
    - H1, H2 and H3 are the one binding to human cells. You would need on of these to infect humans.
    - It can only *very very very rarely* enter a human host, only by sheer luck, almost *by error*. We're speaking about a few dozens of individuals each year during avian flu outbreaks, and this is mostly the poeple who are exposed to birds a lot (the farmers handling them working in the overcrowded farms with thousand of chicken cramed in a small place. not the guy eating a chicken wing).

    So even if the virus was magically able to survive a long time outside a living host (it doesn't) AND even if the virus was able to magically survive cooking (it doesn't neither) chance for catching avian flu through eating are close to none.

    On the other hand, if you're a poor farmer working daily on a farm with thousands of chickens packed together and if an avian flu epidemic spreads among your flock, there's a small chance for you to catch it to. (And sadly for you, because you're a poor farmer in the backland and not a wealthy citizen in the big city, you will let the disease evolve without treatment, hoping that it will end on its own, and you might have a complication, like a pneumonia).

    In short:
    - You can catch bird flu, if you're a living bird and another living bird sneeze on you.
    (Among birds, the oro-fecal pathway works too. Don't peck neither on other birds' fresh shit)

    - You can catch bird flu, if you're a (living) human and you got sneezed on by sick birds several thousand times a day in the tiny overcrowded farm where you work and you are not lucky.
    If you're already sick and *really not lucky a

Man will never fly. Space travel is merely a dream. All aspirin is alike.