Australian expert rejects bird flu fears

November 3, 2005

A bird medicine specialist says the risk of human bird flu infection is small in Australia and people may still safely eat chicken and keep pet birds.

Dr. Bob Doneley, a professor at the University of Queensland's School of Veterinary Science, said the chances of contracting bird flu from a pet bird are infinitesimally small.

"You're more likely to have a light plane hit by a meteor and fall on your head than somebody getting bird flu off their cockatiel," Queensland's only registered bird specialist said.

Contaminated water is the most common source of infection from bird droppings, he said, but the virus can be spread physically on boots or other clothing.

Doneley said the avian influenza virus is stable in water for up to 200 days and in droppings for four to five days, but can be killed by heat, sunlight and most detergents.

He says his office has been swamped with inquiries from panicked bird owners and neighbors about pet parrots, finches and budgies.

"We're getting three or four phone calls a day from people wanting to know if they should sell their house because their neighbors have got birds," Doneley said.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Animal welfare: if you want cheap knitwear, it's the sheep that may suffer

Related Stories

Pets must be protected from bird flu

March 13, 2006

Purdue University veterinarians say pet owners can combat animal diseases such as bird flu with cleanliness and educated observation.

Bird flu vaccine protects people and pets

October 20, 2008

A single vaccine could be used to protect chickens, cats and humans against deadly flu pandemics, according to an article published in the November issue of the Journal of General Virology. The vaccine protects birds and ...

Netherlands steps up measures to fight bird flu

November 15, 2016

The Netherlands shuttered petting zoos and banned duck hunting as it stepped up measures Monday to stem a bird flu outbreak blamed for killing scores of poultry and more than a thousand wild birds.

Could your cat give you 'bird flu?'

November 15, 2017

(HealthDay)—U.S. scientists are reporting a case of a veterinarian who apparently caught "bird flu" from an infected cat at a New York City animal shelter.

Bird flu virus research awaits approval

March 1, 2013

A bird flu virus at the center of an international debate sits in a padlocked freezer, deep inside a University of Wisconsin-Madison lab, waiting for new government guidelines that will allow researchers to continue unlocking ...

Recommended for you

Gaia detects a shake in the Milky Way

September 20, 2018

A team led by researchers from the Institute of Cosmos Sciences of the University of Barcelona (ICCUB, UB-IEEC) and the University of Groningen has found, through the analysis of Gaia data, substructures in the Milky Way ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.