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Bird Flu Woes: Flying This Way?

Experts discuss the potential impact of bird flu that could arrive in the U.S. via wild birds.

Heading to the U.S.A.

Whether it starts next year with snow geese or some other year by some other route, Treanor thinks the H5N1 virus is bound for America.

"Now we're seeing major outbreaks among wild birds in Siberia, Indonesia, and Mongolia. Eventually those birds will mix with North American birds," he says. "It looks inevitable for spread to North American waterfowl and spread from them to chickens in the Western Hemisphere. And as the bird epidemic expands, it increases the chances the virus will hit the jackpot and start taking off."

In the scheme of things, however, Treanor says bird flu is far from our imminent concern.

"You have more important things to worry about than bird flu," he says. "If you are in a high-risk group for flu complications, it's better to worry about getting your normal flu shot this year. If you're worried about your health, you'll do better to watch what you eat and to lose some weight than to worry about a flu pandemic. Bird flu is out there. As a nation we should be prepared. But whether it will happen this year or in 10 years: Who knows?


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