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Avian flu and immigrant workers in poultry plants

A noted occupational health expect warns of avian flu coming into the United States via poultry plants and the largely immigrant work population. He warns that these workers should not be treated as canaries in the mind shaft.

Gary Greenberg MD manages a new non-profit aimed at speeding up transmission of time sensitive information on occupational risks: OHDEN, or the Occupational Health Disaster Expert Network.

Greenberg says the following scenarios could occur. Twoinvolve the arrival in the United States of a migratory bird with the avian flu:

1. a person could pick up a dead bird by the roadside

2. a local -- not corporate --chicken farm serves as a way station for a migratory bird. The corporate chicken farms appear to have invested in safety measures.

3. an individual arrives by plane from another, with the flu still in gestation.

Greenberg says that the avian flue does not transmit easily amomng people -- it is not like the flu of 1918 - 1919, which swept through army camps, among ship crews, and onto city streets, and took years to eventually dissapear.


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