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Watch the Birdie

World looks on in panic as avian flu spreads to Europe

a pigeon blowing its nose

Kleenex have recently released a range of pigeon-sized tissues

With human bird flu cases now confirmed as far west as the fringes of Europe, an emergency summit was called in China inviting countries to donate funds before the virus mutates into a form which might make it dangerous to rich people who don’t live with their chickens.

Panicking nations around the world have so far pledged $1.9 billion (or two thirds of a tsunami) in a bid to prevent the virus from mutating and spreading from human to human.

The budget, to which the US contributed some $330m, comes a poor second to the US’s own home-grown preparations, however, which include funds of $4bn to fight the disease. “We’re planning to make the money back from the virus taking out a few of the insurgents in Iraq for us, which is currently costing us a couple o’ hundred million a day!” explained US health spokesman Marvin Wilcox.

Outside the US, concern is also growing as bird flu has now spread to chickens, swallows, gannets, albatrosses and Turkey. Many experts now fear that the mutated flu will strike as a secondary infection, hitting those already suffering during the pandemics of alarm and hysteria which will inevitably precede it.

“This new H5N1 strain of panic is very deadly,” explained Dr Francis Bargle of the Cambridge-based VisaMed labs, who are currently trying to develop a vaccine, “And, even worse, it is spread by the media, transmitted, quite literally over the airwaves!” Bargle and his team are currently hoping that the vaccination, which involves creeping up on patients and saying “boo” when they don’t expect it, will be an effective counter-measure to this new, virulent strain of health scare.

However, Bargle says that there is reason to be cautiously optimistic: “Thankfully, the BSE scare, The Sun telling everyone their children’s teachers are paedophiles and weekly press releases from cancer researchers telling the public that another swathe of staple foodstuffs is carcinogenic means that there is some natural immunity to paranoia building up in the population.”

How to catch bird flu

  • Find an infected bird & remove its digestive tract. (You may need to get an adult or trained butcher to help you with this.)
  • Thoroughly dry the stomach and intestines in a warm place, such as Asia, or a sunny windowsill.
  • Grind the desiccated guts into a fine powder. Snort the powder, or dilute with water to taste.
  • Hole yourself up in bed and wait for the symptoms to kick in. Stay off antiretroviral drugs such as Tamiflu® and Relenza®.

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