Thursday, February 08, 2007

Avian flu: pointed questions.

It is most important to trace the source of the present outbreak of H5N1 Avian in Suffolk, in order to learn lessons that can help us to close that type of infection pathway. It is not good enough to say, as they are,"We may never know", and "Matthews tell us the eggs are not from Hungary".
Here are some lines of inquiry for some intrepid investigative journalist or researcher to follow up:
Do the DEFRA investigating teams have all the resources they need?
In the investigation, is enough attention being given to the possibility that the infection pathway could be the import of eggs already infected with H5N1?
Is it indeed the case (as reported) that the Holton (Suffolk) strain is similar to a Hungarian strain? How closely are they related?
Is it the case, as has been reported, that Matthews' Hungarian factory had an outbreak earlier this year?
Clearly there needs to be a stringent investigation of the provenance of all eggs brought into the Holton factory. The investigation must go beyond simple examination of the firm's records.
Without prejudicing any person or persons actually involved, it can be said that it is not unknown for records to be altered, particularly in circumstances of this type.
Eggs are presumably worth more in the UK than they are in Hungary.
It is possible that eggs bought in good faith as UK provenance might be foreign in origin.

Let us hope that DEFRA will follow these lines of inquiry. Let us hope that they have hearned from the 2001 foot & mouth outbreak. Let us hope. Or pray...

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