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Thursday, March 23, 2006

Voodoo Magic May Be Stumped by Bird Flu

Along the back roads of Abomey, bird flu is more than just a public health hazard. It threatens a way of life that has survived for centuries: voodoo.

And despite chasing evil spirits, people here are at a loss as to how to counter the potential devastation of a deadly virus.

Abomey, once as famous as Timbuktu, is known for two things: the birthplace of the African slave trade and of voodoo.

Benin's king seems worried about the bird flu virus spreading across Africa and infecting birds in Benin, wedged between Nigeria and Togo in western Africa. "We're almost sure to catch it," Majesty King Behanzin II said in French.

"I hope a vaccine arrives quickly," he said, sitting in his palace, where the walls are said to be sealed with human blood. Full Story

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