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You can safely keep pet birds and eat chicken, says expert

by 5m Editor
9 November 2005, at 12:00am

AUSTRALIA - The risk of human bird flu infection is small in Australia and people can still safely eat chicken and keep pet birds, according to bird medicine specialist Dr Bob Doneley. &quot;The chances of getting bird flu off a pet bird or your neighbours birds are so infinitesimally small,&quot; UQ School of Veterinary Science Adjunct Professor Dr Doneley said. &quot;You&#39;re more likely to have a light plane hit by a meteor and fall on your head than somebody getting bird flu off their cockatiel.&quot; Dr Doneley, Queensland&#39;s only registered bird specialist, said he wanted to clear up some of the confusion and unnecessary panic about the virus. He said bird flu was a viral disease of all birds, usually spread by water birds but normally only causing disease in poultry. Contaminated water is the most common source of infection from bird droppings but it can be spread physically on boots or other clothing. The virus is stable in water for up to 200 days and in droppings for four to five days, but can be stopped by heat, sunlight and most detergents. Authorities have confirmed the dangerous H5NI strain of bird flu in South East Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe but not in Australia. <i>Source: MedicalNewsToday.</i>

5m Editor