Sunday, January 14, 2007

the road to hell is paved with sick birdies

Well-intentioned Buddhists aiming to gain merit through a ceremony may have released birds afflicted with avian flu on an unsuspecting populace. In an article written by the appropriately named Dikky Sinn, we read:

HONG KONG - Something was strange about the little brown bird found dead from bird flu in one of Hong Kong's busiest shopping districts.

The scaly breasted munia usually lives in rural areas of the territory. So how did it and five others come to be in a bustling urban district — raising the threat of exposing residents and tourists to the virus?

Experts think the birds may have been used in a Buddhist ritual that frees hundreds of birds to improve karma. So, with worries rising in Asia about a new outbreak of bird flu, officials are urging that the religious practice be stopped to protect public health.

Hong Kong is hypersensitive about disease outbreaks — especially bird flu. The illness first appeared here in 1997 when it jumped to humans and killed six people. That prompted the government to slaughter the territory's entire poultry population of 1.5 million birds, and the disease has since largely spared this city of 6.9 million people.

But authorities remain on alert, particularly with new outbreaks in other parts of Asia.

(via Drugged)


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