Zoonosis

Here I am a’ coughing and a’ spluttering as I act out my share of the viral universe. My comfort is that this is familiar fare. Better the flu you know I always say. Within its well trodden and so often shared course I can expect it to run to form. A coupla’ days! No worries.

What with cough! splutter! rest! sneeze! splutter! paracetamol! ... I know I will survive. Keep up the fluids. Get plenty of rest. See the quack if the symptoms persist ... Cough. Cough. Yackerty yack.

I’ll send you my wet handkerchief as a memento to be treasured and passed through your family. That is, if yours is into snot.

VOICE: Did you know that most diseases come from other species?
MYSELF: Get away! From other critters!
VOICE: Yep. Smallpox comes from dogs or cattle. The Hemorrhagic fevers originated in rodents and monkeys. Tuberculosis was generated first in cattle and birds. Horses shared their colds with us. And AIDS, of course, comes from African monkies. Known as "zoonosis", disease transfer from animals to humans has long been established. Foreign microbes can be lethal because the new host may not have the immunity that has built up over time in the original species.

Which brings me to chooks. I’m not paltry when when it comes to poultry. Dead chicken, Gallus domesticus, especially hacked thigh, is a highly valued culinary staple at La maison de Riley. We cook up a storm here every week with dead chook bits.

But to think that our beloved sautéed fowl, our chicken with lemon grass ... our chicken chaseur ... our Chicken Tonight-which-was-on-special ... could be a threat to our very being! It took me years to keep salmonella at bay and now...now we have Bird Flu!

When you ponder the three major flu pandemics during the 20th century the prospect of a future outbreak generated from avian sources, makes the local aviary or coop a scary place. Besides birds are everywhere flying around, laying eggs and doing their bird like stuff and viruses don’t keep to the pecking order.

The brutal irony is this: here we are segregating human cultures and curbing migration, locking up refugees and such -- when we allow the birds of the air to freely fly where they are want as though they’re on par with investment capital.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:26 NIV)

It's unfair! Free the refugees -- lock up the birds!

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