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Oct 24, 2005

Avian Flu - How Worried Should I Be?

Many customers have called our office and asked, “how worried should I be about avian flu? Should I still be eating chicken?”:

There are two areas of concern. One is the H5N1 avian flu as reported in the media – a disease affecting birds with high mortality and which very rarely infects humans causing similarly high mortality. The second concern is the possibility of a mutated avian flu spreading from human to human.

The first concern – the chances of the average Malaysian being infected by avian flu is very slim. If we were to look at the situation objectively, in spite of millions of birds being killed and the number of countries affected since it first surfaced in Hong Kong in 1997, the total humans affected thus far is in the region of about 120 persons with about 60 mortality. Compare this to SARS or to Nipah.

All those killed by the avian flu were those with direct contact with live chickens. They were either involved in the culling of sick birds, or butchered sick birds to cook. One must remember in many poorer Asian countries birds that are obviously sick are still slaughtered and cooked. In 2004, two siblings in a Vietnamese family died after butchering 10 sick chickens for a wedding dinner. None of the guests or other members of the family who ate the cooked chickens came down with the disease.

It is not the practice in Malaysia to sell or to eat diseased chickens.  The signs of disease in a chicken with avian flu are obvious and cannot be passed off as healthy, ie those people who died from butchering sick birds for food knew the birds were sick though they may not have been aware of the consequences.  Further, most Malaysian families do not buy live birds and therefore are not involved in butchering live birds.

For ease of mind, buy your chickens from a farm that is visited regularly by vets (as is the case with DQ Farm), and avoid buying live birds at the wet market or have live birds delivered to your homes. 

The second concern – the mutated avian flu that will spread from human to human. If such a mutation occurs, you won’t be getting the flu from chickens but from another human being.  Eating chickens will not increase or decrease your chances of catching such a flu, if it should happen. You are better off avoiding crowds. Better yet, have DQ Chickens delivered to your home and boost up your immune system with home-made DQ Chicken essence of chicken.

In the event of human to human avian flu, we would suggest stocking up on N95 face masks as these masks will filter off even flu viruses. It can be used for up to 8 hours continuously before changing.


09:20 Posted in Chickens | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: Organic Farming

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