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Your article "Chance of bird flu mutating into virus transmissible
between humans is "very low""  contained unequivocal claims that should
be interpreted with caution. An investigation by the New Scientist,
published this week, raised doubts regarding the validity of H5N1 testing
in the UK . It appears there is a discrepancy in the methods employed
in sample collection, a problem highlighted by the near absence of
ordinary forms of avian flu in ducks and geese, which international
experts believe should be in the region of 6 – 10%. It is therefore ironic
to read the reassurance disseminated by various UK bodies, as it clouds
our true understanding of ground events.
1. Day M. Chance of bird flu mutating into virus transmissible
between humans is "very low". BMJ 2006;332(7546):873-c-.
2. Mackenzie D. UK's bird tests may be missing flu virus. New
No competing interests
18 April 2006
Surgical Research Fellow
Halla Zaitoun, and Mark Peter
Breast Unit, Lincoln Wing, St James's University Hospital, Beckett Street, Leeds LS9 7TF