Chuck Colson and Scottish Chickens

December 01, 2005  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Weblog

In a column today kindly discussing my Weekly Standard article, "Fuss and Feathers," Chuck Colson notes, "What's more, there is no evidence as yet that H5N1 has mutated into a form that can be transmitted from person to person. It's not for lack of time: Contrary to what you might have been led to believe, H5N1 has been around since at least 1997 and possibly as far back as 1992."

Actually, I wrote (based on a discovery that floored me when I made it) that it was first recognized in Scottish chickens in 1959! So here's a virus that's been mutating and making contact with humans for at least 46 years and in all that time hasn't yet become transmissible between humans. That's not to say it won't ever; but if it hasn't in the last half century there's no good reason to think it will in the next half century, much less the few years needed to stockpile mountains of antiviral drugs and develop an effective vaccine. Never has a Scottish chicken been so important; why do our health officials refuse to mention them?