Now we’re in full flu and norovirus season, I wondered what had happened to bird flu. In 2006 and 2007 it seemed to be the biggest threat to the world, never mind the UK.
Checking the World Health Organisation figures, I realised how few people had been killed by the ‘deadly’ H5N1 virus. 32 in 2004, 43 in 2005, 79 in 2006, 59 in 2007, 30 in 2008. This is globally. You are about a thousand times more likely to be struck by lightning (24,000 deaths a year).
I know that there was and still is a theoretical risk that it could be much worse. However, I’m interested in the fact that now there’s a recession on, bird flu is no longer newsworthy. People are still dying, and birds with H5N1 are still turning up in various places around the world. Germany had a case in October, and the H7N2 bird flu was in the UK in June, but no-one’s really interested anymore. Strange.