Helen Branswell reports on two wild ducks in Manitoba that have tested positive for what you might call "H5N1 Lite." It's not the Asian strain, which is the one we have to worry about.
The H5N1 viruses were isolated from two ducks as part of a first-ever cross-country surveillance program aimed at taking a snapshot of what flu viruses wild ducks in this country are carrying.
H5N1s have been found previously in North America, mostly recently in domestic poultry in Michigan in 2002, Evans said.
Avian influenza experts concurred with the assessment of the Canadian officials, noting H5N1 viruses from North American lineage have typically been far milder than their distant Asian cousins.
"We've got 32 years of surveillance work that says these North American strains in wild birds in the past have never been a threat," said Dr. Richard Slemons, of Ohio State University, a leading avian influenza expert who isolated an H5N1 virus in a mallard in Ohio in 1986.
The brighter side of this problem is that we're learning a lot more about viruses in general and H5N1 in particular.