Day By Day

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Continuing Collapse of Scientific Authority -- Bird Flu

Remember all those scare stories about a global bird flu pandemic in which millions would die? Of course you do! It was all over the news, pushed by top epidemiological authorities and international organizations.

Well..., never mind.

From the Seattle Times:

Fears of a flu pandemic originating from the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus were overblown, the head of the World Organization for Animal Health said Thursday.

The Paris-based body _ an intergovernmental organization responsible for improving animal health worldwide _ has been at the forefront of global efforts to monitor and fight H5N1, which scientists have tracked because they fear it may mutate into a human flu virus that starts a pandemic.

But "the risk was overestimated," said Bernard Vallat, director general of the animal health organization, also known as the OIE.

Vallat said the H5N1 virus has proved extremely stable, despite concerns that it could mutate into a form that could spread easily among humans.

"We have never seen such a stable strain," Vallat said.

He said concerns a few years ago that a flu pandemic from H5N1 might be imminent lacked scientific proof.

"It was just nonscientific supposition," he told reporters.

Oh, really? Then why did so many "scientists" issue warnings? Why did so many inter- governmental agencies push the story? You can't just blame this on excitable journalists. There is complicity among corrupt bureaucrats, ambitious scientists and naive journalists that drives these kinds of frauds. And they are becoming commonplace. And each time they occur scientific authority take yet another hit.

Read the story here.