UK professor suggests vaccinated truckers could stop spread of bird flu

| 3/3/2006

A British professor is advising truck drivers throughout the UK to be vaccinated against a human strain of the bird flu.

Hugh Pennington, a former professor at Aberdeen University and president of the Society of Microbiology, told the Evening Express that he sees truckers, or lorry drivers, as a potentially dangerous carrier for the disease, should it make the leap from bird to human, and that vaccinating them could protect the country’s food supply.

“If the virus takes out the lorry drivers, we could run out of food and starve,” Pennington said.

To date, no cases of bird flu have been reported in humans, nor has the virus mutated into a human-transmittable strain. However, Pennington said such a mutation could lead to as many as 250,000 human cases, more than 3,000 of whom would die from the disease.