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Deadly Avian Flu Strain Penetrates Biosecurity Defenses In Seoul

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the cover-your-mouth dept.

Medicine 49

sciencehabit writes "A new, deadly H5N8 strain of avian influenza penetrated the biosecurity defenses of a National Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) campus near Seoul, prompting authorities to cull all of the facility's 11,000 hens and 5000 ducks. The incident highlights the difficulty of protecting poultry farms from circulating avian influenza viruses. 'We are taking this situation very seriously,' said Lee Jun-Won, deputy agriculture minister, at a press conference yesterday in Seoul. He noted that NIAS has the country's most secure facilities and most vigilant staff. Lee said they were looking at three possible routes the virus could have taken onto campus: wild birds, NIAS vehicles, and supply deliveries. 'We will determine the reason for the infection, and we are going to hold those responsible accountable,' he said."

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Nature... (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 5 months ago | (#46414651)

Nature is most perseverant. Sure glad I don't eat any poultry products, by products from Korea. At least, I don't think I do, but that Poisoned Milk thing from China showed just how global food distribution is, even to a seemingly unrelated supplier half way around the world.

perhaps we could learn to enjoy rubber chickens

Re:Nature... (2)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 5 months ago | (#46415693)

"There's been a fire."

  -- Andromeda Strain

Re:Nature... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46417787)

Sure glad I don't eat any poultry products

Why don't you eat any poultry products? Besides the meat, what other poultry products do people eat? Are you just saying you're a vegetarian? Or is there something about bird meat in particular that turns you away from dining on it? You have me curious.

that Poisoned Milk thing from China

I think you're referring to what was a common practice in some brands of baby formula produced in China of adding a white mineral (like, from rock) to the dried milk, presumably to save money. It wasn't nutritious, or advantageous to the consumer in any way, because it wasn't milk, but it wasn't technically any more "poisonous" than eating rocks. You can sell pulverized rock as a milk substitute baby formula; its probably legal in every country. You cannot claim, however, that it is milk or that it is nutritious.

Re:Nature... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46419045)

"Sure glad I don't eat any poultry products,
what does that have to do with anything?

"but that Poisoned Milk thing from China showed just how global food distribution is
that event happened in China, from local production. Why do you think that has anything to do with global food distribution?

Lock up the wild birds! (5, Interesting)

penix1 (722987) | about 5 months ago | (#46414709)

Lee said they were looking at three possible routes the virus could have taken onto campus: wild birds, NIAS vehicles, and supply deliveries. 'We will determine the reason for the infection, and we are going to hold those responsible accountable,' he said."

OK... Just how do you hold wild birds accountable???

Re:Lock up the wild birds! (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 5 months ago | (#46414727)

Lee said they were looking at three possible routes the virus could have taken onto campus: wild birds, NIAS vehicles, and supply deliveries. 'We will determine the reason for the infection, and we are going to hold those responsible accountable,' he said."

OK... Just how do you hold wild birds accountable???

Form a Fact Finding Committee, start several task forces, budget a few hundred million for the whole process, lose sight of the objective, point fingers, trade polarizing recriminations in media and ultimately issue a report that is over 1,000 pages long and nobody can even understand.

Oh, wait, in Korea... put a net over it for a couple hundred dollars.

Re:Lock up the wild birds! (0)

penix1 (722987) | about 5 months ago | (#46414775)

That's pretty funny! If I hadn't posted already you would be getting mod points from me for that one...

Re:Lock up the wild birds! (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#46415009)

Oh, wait, in Korea... put a net over it for a couple hundred dollars.

It's just one flu over the chicken coop, after all.

Re:Lock up the wild birds! (0)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 5 months ago | (#46415705)

That...
That was atrocious.
You're welcome.

Re:Lock up the wild birds! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46416759)

It's just one flu over the chicken coop, after all.

I had a little bird,
And its name was Enza.
I opened the window
And in-flew-enza.

Re:Lock up the wild birds! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46415321)

I'm sure they will pick the most logical option and kill all the wild birds.

Re:Lock up the wild birds! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46415347)

Lee said they were looking at three possible routes the virus could have taken onto campus: wild birds, NIAS vehicles, and supply deliveries. 'We will determine the reason for the infection, and we are going to hold those responsible accountable,' he said."

OK... Just how do you hold wild birds accountable???

Form a Fact Finding Committee, start several task forces, budget a few hundred million for the whole process, lose sight of the objective, point fingers, trade polarizing recriminations in media and ultimately issue a report that is over 1,000 pages long and nobody can even understand.

Oh, wait, in Korea... put a net over it for a couple hundred dollars.

Since it's Korea, they must get the teevee network to shoot a "Deadly Bird Influenza Epidemic" teevee series, and of course, must mix in with a love story, or two, a clown character, or two, a tragedy, or two, and last but not least, one very suspenseful cliff hanger at the end.

Re:Lock up the wild birds! (1)

durrr (1316311) | about 5 months ago | (#46415125)

Tell them to confess or else. When no one shows up you make an example out of the 16000 locked up birds you have available.

Re:Lock up the wild birds! (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 5 months ago | (#46415887)

Lee said they were looking at three possible routes the virus could have taken onto campus: wild birds, NIAS vehicles, and supply deliveries. 'We will determine the reason for the infection, and we are going to hold those responsible accountable,' he said."

OK... Just how do you hold wild birds accountable???

DDT. It did a great job of lowering several species populations to the brink of extinction. As an added side benefit, it will also get rid of mosquitos and other pesky insects.

DDT BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46418951)

No real, hard scientific proof that DDT hurt birds... hard proof that it did indeed save thousands of human lives by killing malaria infested mosquitoes. But hey, if it's only Africans that get sick and die from Malaria, who cares, right?

http://dwb.unl.edu/Teacher/NSF/C06/C06Links/www.altgreen.com.au/Chemicals/ddt.html

Re:Lock up the wild birds! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46419125)

Not to worry. Alice and her clones can clear this (1)

Carl Stanley (3489489) | about 5 months ago | (#46414723)

Watch out for the Zombies, and a malicious A.I.

People of earth. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46414751)

Instead of fighting with the flu virus, why don't we negotiate with it? Maybe if it understands that it is harming us, we will all find a way to peacefully co-exist.

Re:People of earth. (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 5 months ago | (#46414951)

Or we could find a way to induct the virus into the SEIU, thereby rendering it ineffective.

Did it enter or leave the facility? (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#46414793)

I read TFA, but I'm still not clear on this...did the virus escape from the facility's biosecurity defenses and infect animals in the wild, or did the virus penetrate the biosecurity defenses from animals in the wild to infect the facility's animals?

Re:Did it enter or leave the facility? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46414875)

"Lee said they were looking at three possible routes the virus could have taken onto campus"

Re:Did it enter or leave the facility? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 5 months ago | (#46415025)

"Lee said they were looking at three possible routes the virus could have taken onto campus"

I wasn't clear if that meant out of their research building and onto the campus at large, or from offsite onto campus, but now I see a quote in TFA that clarifies it:

. Lee said they were looking at three possible routes the virus could have taken onto campus: wild birds, NIAS vehicles, and supply deliveries

So this seems much less scary, when I first read the summary, I thought a research virus had escaped from their facility to their bird flocks, but now it seems clear that someone tracked in the virus from outside, which is not surprising since it's hard to disinfect an entire supply truck.

Re:Did it enter or leave the facility? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46415253)

Of course, if it can go one way, likely it can go the other.

Re:Did it enter or leave the facility? (1)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | about 5 months ago | (#46415215)

I read TFA, but I'm still not clear on this...did the virus escape from the facility's biosecurity defenses and infect animals in the wild, or did the virus penetrate the biosecurity defenses from animals in the wild to infect the facility's animals?

If it was clear it wouldn't be on /., silly :)

Re:Did it enter or leave the facility? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46421267)

Animal on the outside infected the birds at the research facility, according to the article.

"Biological" Warfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46414847)

It's North Korea's doing. An inspired variation of the urban myth of putting smallpox into blankets; except this one actually happened.

Re:"Biological" Warfare (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46414949)

It's North Korea's doing. An inspired variation of the urban myth of putting smallpox into blankets; except this one actually happened.

It did happen, Chief. [wikipedia.org] And given the insanity the North Korean leadership is capable of, it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Re:"Biological" Warfare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46415111)

It did happen, Chief. [wikipedia.org] And given the insanity the North Korean leadership is capable of, it's not out of the realm of possibility.

The logistics of implementation prior to Louis Pasteur's discoveries make it appear problematic; in that knowing how to create and transfer the product of infestation by the appropriately selected perpetrators having the smallpox immunity seems beyond the capabilities of the times.

Since they weren't, either History has been revised or, perhaps, this was Pasteur's inspiration to follow through on his ideas.

Re:"Biological" Warfare (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46416035)

Pasteur was very late to the game. Vaccination had already been invented by Jenner decades before Pasteur's birth, and even before that there was "variolation," which was essentially deliberate inoculation with smallpox (taken from scabs of smallpox patients) in order to bestow immunity. So, long before Pasteur, it was well-known that smallpox was transmissible, how to transmit it, and that people could become immune to it.

Pasteur did create several vaccines, and his experiments largely established the germ theory of disease, but he was by no means the first to discover transmissibility or immunity.

Re:"Biological" Warfare (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#46417445)

How dare you! Dear Leader is of course capable of making a bird fly! Or even flu! They have a whole population as an incubator.

Kim. Sung. Il. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46414893)

"Kim Sung-Il, head of the contingency team at the Rural Development Administration"

I blame a saboteur with an infallible fake identity!

Life finds a way.... (2)

pcwhalen (230935) | about 5 months ago | (#46415285)

In the age of the airliner, a poultry farmer wipes his nose the wrong way, shakes another guy's hand, 2d guy gets on a jet to Hong Kong, jet stops long enough to change crews and off to sunny California. Kills the guys in the first village, flight crew spreads it to Hong Kong, then right to the US in less than a day.

We're fucked. Sooner or later. It's happened before.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre... [who.int]

Re:Life finds a way.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46415761)

You're over-thinking things.
Airliners?
Last time I checked, birds fly.

Re:Life finds a way.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46415953)

If you were a bird, do you think you could flap your way across the Pacific while afflicted with a deadly flu?

Re:Life finds a way.... (1)

xtal (49134) | about 5 months ago | (#46415923)

1918. Less than 100 years ago. 3-5% of total world population died.

People forget. History repeats. :(

Re:Life finds a way.... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#46417471)

Don't worry, humanity is not at the brink of extinction.

I know it would be better for this planet if it was, but sadly it's not.

Re:Life finds a way.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46416547)

We're fucked. Sooner or later. It's happened before. http://www.who.int/mediacentre... [who.int]

I recommend that you watch the movie, "12 Monkeys"; it will help you to alleviate your fears about your particular glitch-in-paradise scenario. (HehHh)

Re:Life finds a way.... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46419149)

Anythig that spreads that fast isn't likely to kill someone in a few days.

But 7 days later we are on alert and taking action.
Another day and the people on slashdot are ranting about how 'they' are just being scaremonger, and how they never get the flu.

Common Problem (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | about 5 months ago | (#46415613)

I would bet on the boots the workers are wearing. The treads are amazing at carrying around material.

Madagascar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46416409)

has closed its borders.

Re:Madagascar (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#46417477)

*groan* How the hell do you infect them? It's always them. And if it isn't, it's those Greenlanders.

It's really not easy being a pandemia.

We will all die (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46416799)

It's true, one day any life ends. With some artificially created killer virus things might just speed up a bit. I hope I can see all the people I hate die before me. They earned it by making the life of everyone else miserable.

Sincerly yours,
guy-with-cancer

So i guess is THAT time of the year again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46417971)

When are people going to learn that "regular" influenza kills more people than this "deadly" strains every year?

sciencemag editor PLEASE (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 5 months ago | (#46418103)

"... disinfecting and shoeing away wild birds ..." Must've taken a lot of shoes to shoo that many birds away.

"Decimate" is to kill 1 in 10, not entirely eliminate.

Mutas IMBA (1)

BisuDagger (3458447) | about 5 months ago | (#46418195)

Zerg are too strong in south korea. Nerf plz David Kim.

Plague Inc. (0)

JigJag (2046772) | about 5 months ago | (#46418481)

This story made me think of the game "Plague Inc." by Ndemic Creations [ndemiccreations.com] . I currently play it on my phone while in transit.
The idea is to mutate and spread a pathogen (bacteria, virus, fungus, parasite, prion, nano-virus, bio-weapon, neurax worm, and the zombie-making necroa virus) until the whole world is dead, mind-controlled (neurax worm), or zombified (necroa virus).

One of the ways to infect everyone is to acquire the ability to spread through birds, just like this article is about.

The game aims to be close to reality in the way things could happen. It's cheap too: In game, I spend US$0.99 to get the full version and then played the game through until all the bonuses were unlocked without spending another dime.

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