I am responding to Russell Parkin (Readers' Forum, Nov. 20) who paints a rather gloomy picture of the H5N1 bird flu virus. I am sure he hopes he is wrong.
The bird flu virus is not as inevitable as his letter implies. The H5N1 virus was discovered first in 1959 in Scottish chickens. After four decades, it has not attacked. Why should it pick next year? So far the H5N1 virus is a danger to no one but bird farmers. If it were to mutate, it would have to make just the right change to become deadly to humans. It has a greater chance of changing to an extremely weak virus than a deadly one.
The bottom line is, it's nice to be prepared, but bird flu is not as bad as many people would lead us to believe.