Archive for the ‘Avian flu’ Category

The case for wind farms #2: bird-choppers kill bats too!

June 15, 2009

Until now, I thought the only arguments in favour of wind farms was that they provide entertainment in the form of eagles being sucked into the propeller blades and turned into fast food for rats and foxes.

After all, they disfigure the countryside, they consume vast quantities of concrete. Does anyone know the carbon footprint of building a wind farm -including the trucks carrying the pieces and what BP executives spend their related bonuses on?

They often don’t generate energy at all: “too little” or “too much wind” so a back up oil-fired power station has to be built nearby to “top up” supply. They also explode.

But I was wrong.

Not only do bird-choppers kill birds (reducing the threat of avian influenza) and make a dreadful racket, they could exterminate West Virginia’s bat population too!

I want a wind farm next door to me right now, call me a chiroptophobe if you wish.

Bird flu study and tips

January 25, 2007

Over on Outbreak H5N1 I write: 

The Public Library of Science has a study of the way in which avian influenza could spread globally, in the event that the limited human-to-human transmission becomes a pandemic.

Here are my conclusions and tips on what to do, for now:

That said, the important data from this study:
1) a vaccine is likely to take eight months to prepare from the moment the virus transmits rapidly from human-to-human;
2) strategies involving the deployment in early-affected regions or countries (if international co-operation doesn’t break down, which would neither be surprising nor entirely blameworthy) of antivirals like Tamiflu (oseltamivir), should slow down the spread of the virus by up to a year.

On an individual basis, locate a secure supply of antivirals now. You can expect public health authorities to use whatever powers they have to grab private supplies if a pandemic is announced. Keep an eye on this link, the World Health Organization’s pandemic alert bulletin. If it rises from 3 to 4, I shall buy an antiviral injection within the week.

Until then, I am keeping an eye out for new treatments and the spread of H5N1, but not worrying about it. Other than a few precautions if traveling to countries that are currently affected by bird flu, there is no cause for alarm at this time.