Sparrows the scapegoats for H5N1 in chicken farm

Why is it microbiologists seem so ignorant of evolution and so forth? Too many seem to treat viruses as chemicals, not lifeforms subject to evolution.

Ah, isn't ignorance bliss, especially when you're an "expert".

Today's South China Morning Post has a report including:

Experts who visited the Yuen Long chicken farm at the centre of the latest bird flu outbreak found important evidence flying around - sparrows.
The experts believe that chickens and sparrows, which can carry the H5 virus, living together signalled a serious failure in the farm's bio-security measures and may have caused the bird flu outbreak last month.

...
Ho Pak-leung, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, said the farm's bio-security measures had failed. "Good bio-security measures mean the live chickens should be completely segregated from other animals or birds," he said.
Professor Ho said sparrows in both Hong Kong and on the mainland had been found with the H5 virus and they could be the source of the latest outbreak.

As I've just emailed to some HK conservationists (and a reporter at SCMP):

Comes a day after I sent SCMP a letter, saying wild birds not major carriers of H5N1 - and anyway, a flu that's evolved in birds isn't substantial threat to people. This after someone suggested culling pigeons, so city even more sterile; ecophobia spreads.

Some time ago, I saw paper from China, re H5N1 in sparrows; but didn't seem that also looked at chickens to see if they were source of infection. Which came first, the virus in chickens, or... - with H5N1 variants, we know that not wild origin.

Prof Ho yet another woefully thought-free academic? - if sparrows at the farm had/have H5N1, where on earth did they get it from? They don't migrate; and he's surely not saying they have poultry evolved H5N1 all the time.
- next up, he'll be blaming the Tooth Fairy Bird.
Why is it microbiologists seem so ignorant of evolution and so forth? Too many seem to treat viruses as chemicals, not lifeforms subject to evolution.

Ah well... - that Tooth Fairy Bird seems a very hardy species.
And, sadly, the article here includes more of the brainless assault on anything akin to free range poultry farming; so we can keep chickens in massive airtight sheds - just like, say, Bernard Matthews(!) [a massive UK poultry company, which had an H5N1 outbreak in a sealed shed; blamed wild birds, but later the culprit surely transport links to infected poultry area in Europe]

Martin Williams

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