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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2005, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Is bird flu a serious threat?
Live chickens at a market in Bulgaria where imports of poultry have been banned
What action should be taken to prevent the spread of the bird flu virus?

Imports of captive live birds, but not poultry, have been banned by the EU from other countries in an effort to curb the spread of bird flu.

The European Food Safety Authority has advised people to thoroughly cook poultry and eggs before consumption, to avoid any risk of bird flu.

Raw eggs and chicken can carry bugs and viruses that people can catch such as salmonella and theoretically bird flu.

Has your view changed since the recent findings? Are you worried about a bird flu pandemic?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

I'm not worried about bird flu, but I cannot believe we are still allowing the importation of wild birds bird flu or no bird flu this practice should be banned, its cruel and barbaric.
Karen, Havant, England

I do not understand why more isn't being done to rid us of the huge excess of disease carrying pigeons in this country, eg homing birds fly to other countries. Goodness knows what infections they are carrying. Numbers of wild pigeons and gulls have also been allowed to grow unchecked. There should be a cull.
Katrina Barr, Belfast NI

Come on get a grip. The real danger from bird flu is over reaction. The British press are the worse for this which fuels people's fears. Be sensible listen to the medical advice being given, (ignore the press doom and gloom) and get on with your life.
Neil, Norfolk, UK

It's not a matter of if a pandemic will happen, but when. We need to be demanding our governments to develop comprehensive plans to deal with a global pandemic. Here in the US, our hospitals are grossly unprepared, and have no surge capacity to accommodate the potential number of infected persons. We need action now, to prevent a pandemic spiralling out of control when it happens.
Patrick Keys, San Francisco, USA

Yes there should be a ban on imports of all birds. There should be a flu jabs available for everyone. I have two young children and I'm terrified they might catch it.
Cindy Holian, Ipswich, Suffolk

I am a nurse here in Houston and am very worried about bird flu. I have taken several courses in college in biology and microbiology and know that the threat is real. Of course there is no need to worry at the moment unless you live with your chickens that roam free outside with the wild birds....the point is the scientists know that it is very very likely to mutate to a form that is easily transmittable from human to human as these viruses often do. Most scientists think that it is not an "if" it mutates, but "when" it mutates hoping that we will have more time to get our antiviral and vaccine supplies in enough supply before it comes to a form easily transmissible between humans.
Lesley, Houston, USA

We could start by banning imports of all poultry from outside the EEC.
M.Bird, Chichester England

Given that airlines invariably recycle air on aircraft, should the passengers and crew of the flight that the now-dead parrot travelled on be worried? Are attempts being made to contact such people who may have effectively been in contact with the effected bird to offer them a flu jab?
Darren Jones, Cheshire

While I understand the fear, I do not understand the all-consuming dread and hysteria these things bring about. All the aggressive vaccinating, and wholesale slaughters encourage virus mutations, increasing the risk of a pandemic. While I believe no one should be complacent, the world is far too wrapped up with what will ultimately be out of its hands.
Audrey Pecot, South Korea

Many of the comments on this page display some lack of understanding of the evolution of the flu virus. It is not a product of unhygenic conditions, however undesirable these may be, it is a consequence of natural mutation. Intensive farming methods may allow any virulent mutation to thrive, and contact with wild birds will allow the spread of the virus through natural migration routes.
K F, Sheffield, England



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