FEARSOME BIRD FLU ON PAPUA NEW GUINEA’S DOORSTEP

Editorial

PNG Post-Courier

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (March 23) - Healthy living is very much on our minds these days in Papua New Guinea, with reports of new deadly diseases cropping up around the world.

First it was the deadly HIV/AIDS, which we are still staggering to cope with. Then, the mysterious Ebola plague, which appears to have been confined.

More recently, avian or bird flu has caught the international imagination. Bird flu has been creeping closer and now, it is confirmed to be within striking distance of our land. The national quarantine officers at Kiunga say the disease has been found at Timika, the town that services the huge American-owned copper mine at Freeport. This calls for a fresh resolve by our health and quarantine staff to be vigilant.

If the illness gets into our village poultry stocks and spreads rapidly, it could have a devastating effect on the rural lifestyle. Pigs are an occasional treat. Village chickens are a much more frequent part of the diet, so too the frozen poultry pieces bought in town stores.

Also to be considered is the wild bird population in our country. Imagine what our beautiful valleys and islands would be like with a decimated bird population?

March 24, 2006

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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