Influenza, in all its forms, is the master of mutation, making it irresistible to a “bug” junkie like me. So when the 2014-2015 outbreak swept across the country, mutating as it went, and in the end causing 48± million birds to be euthanized, with portable incinerators carted from commercial poultry factory to commercial poultry factory still unable to keep up, I was obsessed.
Skipping the multitudinous, envy-tinged detailing of gas chromatograph model specs – all of which I wanted – sampling methods, let alone my thrilling Rubik’s Cube imagining of the 18 known H (hemagglutinin) antigen and 11 known N (neuraminidase) antigen pairings, I will simply leave for posterity this moment of disapproval at the dubious methodology of our USDA and APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services.)
It’s dull, don’t listen, but doesn’t hurt me to post it. It’s like a clipping in a scrapbook that won’t mean anything to anyone but me, because although it is impossible to tell from this truncated clip, it was at this very moment that I understood the terrifying implications that the dry data and deliberately dense terminology could not obscure.
*HPAI – Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu
*Poultry Trivia: Were you aware that there is actually a “national coordinator for carcass disposal issues?” Well, there is, and her name is Lori Miller, a Senior Staff Officer with USDA-APHIS, and National Coordinator for Carcass Disposal Issues.