Australian Quarantine: 1. Canadian Screening: 0.

Thank God for the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS). It’s comforting to know they’re obviously on the alert for this. It’s also good to know this is another Government branch that doesn’t merely accept everything it’s told.

Pigeon bird flu scare

PIGEONS exposed to bird flu have been quarantined in Melbourne in the first local scare since the outbreak hit Asia and Europe.

In a shock development, it emerged that Canadian quarantine authorities had certified the infected birds as disease-free.

Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran told the Herald Sun he had ordered an immediate inquiry into the breach of Canada's bird flu defences.

The minister will also demand answers from the Canadian ambassador as to why paperwork accompanying the consignment said the birds had the all-clear for all viruses.

"I am deeply concerned at the breach in security by Canadian authorities," Mr McGauran said. "But I am thankful that the Australian system is so rigorous."
Me too!

Professor Greg Tannock, an RMIT virology expert, told the Herald Sun that birds carrying the antibodies would have been exposed to a strain of bird flu at some point. "It depends on how soon they made the antibodies," he said. "The worry is that there could be some virus hanging around as well. The antibodies don't arrive unless you've had the virus: the question is if they've still got it."

The birds were last night being held in level four security at AQIS's Spotswood headquarters.

This is the highest level of security possible for diseased animals.
How about diseased Canadian paperwork?

It’s quite a question, though, isn’t it? What will it take to produce an epidemic akin to last century’s Spanish Influenza outbreak? Even were it an equally deadly pathogen, would it benefit from the lack of mass communication that virus was (unwittingly) able to exploit? As frightening as the prospect is, and though it would, if it occurs, claim a great many lives, I’m yet to be convinced it would be as deadly, and for that simple reason: we can speak to each other far more efficiently; we know better how to react.

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