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Friday, October 28, 2005

H5N1 Detected In Iraq?

This appears to be the first report of H5N1 confirmed in birds in northern Iraq. One would hope that the US military will be monitoring the situation. Iran has been issuing public denials for a month or two that bird flu is killing its birds, and Turkey has confirmed H5N1. So this would not be a surprise, but it is potentially a severe problem:
Veterinary authorities in Erbil have confirmed the first case of avian flu in Iraqi Kurdistan, near the border with Turkey. The head of the Erbil veterinary laboratory, Ilham Butros, told journalists that preliminary positive analysis done locally on suspect birds had been confirmed by a dedicated bird-flu testing lab in Egypt. Iraq on Thursday announced a ban on poultry imports from 20 countries, amid fears that the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus, found in neighbouring Turkey, might endanger the country.
Wars have historically been associated with epidemics. Soldiers have historically died in large numbers from them. The 1918-1919 pandemic wreaked havoc in the military.

This is very, very bad news. The reality exists that we may have to keep our guys there, in isolation, so to speak.

That would prove to be a real morale buster- at least for some. It is pretty impressive, though, how high morale remains in the military. Reenlistments are at impressive levels.
It won't be a crisis if they have prepared properly.

You are right that quarantines might need to be implemented.

They are incredible people.
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