2005_10_health_polly2.gifIt's funny how much more attention the Avian Flu is getting now that a parrot has died from the virus in London. The disease felt more distant and exotic when it was just knocking off hens and roosters in the crowded marketplaces and butcheries of Asia. And now that several swans, other darlings of the bird world, have fallen ill in Romania, the public's interest (and fear) will continue to grow.

As part of the most recent frenzy over the disease on our own homefront, a lab outside of Albany has been examining hundreds of New York City bird cadavers for possible infection. Of the 360 birds examined so far, none has been found to be a carrier. With its tremendous poultry market, New York City is estimated to be one of the top 5 cities in America that would be affected by the virus if it were to make its way over here. Worse yet would be if the virus were to mutate and make the jump to humans. But while about 60 people have died from the illness worldwide, only 1 is confirmed to have caught it from another human. This puts a New Yorker's chance of getting sick as VERY LOW confirming the World Health Organization's advice to just stay informed and relax.

Check out this BBC map which shows where the virus is these days.

Image from www.kellog.ca