Don’t touch that bird!

I'm still not sure whether to file the bird flu under "things to be worried about" or "news item to start skipping over." There's no...

I'm still not sure whether to file the bird flu under "things to be worried about" or "news item to start skipping over." There's no doubt the virus is real, and that it presents a level of danger to be concerned about in certain regions, but I still can't ascertain what the probability is of a global outbreak.

According to the New York Times, the virus has claimed the lives of 154 people worldwide as of Nov. 29. Today comes news that a 26-year-old man has become the tenth victim of the avian flu in Egypt. (Check out these handy maps to get a feel for the pandemic worldwide.)

The challenge with the virus, unlike SARS, doesn't seem to be quelling public panic, but instead raising awareness. Jackie Chan has already been brought in by the WHO to feature in PSAs that encourage kids to stay away from sick or dead birds. The WHO is also trying to spread the word in other quarters that immediate action and funding is needed to increase vaccine supply in the right places.

The question remains whether the communication efforts can effectively stamp out whatever risk there is (I'm still unsure) that this virus will rampage around the globe. Luckily, Jackie Chan seems to be pretty effective when he's up against it.

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