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Bird Flu

To give accurate information in an easy to understand form; to calm unnecessary fears.

by Gordon Lamont

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To give accurate information in an easy to understand form; to calm unnecessary fears.

Preparation and materials

Note that this is an emerging news story so please check any facts with a reputable source such as


  1. Introduce the subject of the assembly and ask what the children know about bird flu. Use this as an opportunity to correct gently any misinformation such as the idea that this is a disease that humans can catch from each other.
  2. Recap on the basic facts (please update as appropriate):

    Bird flu is a disease that birds can catch from one another and it can kill them.

    People are only at risk if they have very close contact with birds that have bird flu. Chicken farmers for example can catch bird flu, but this is still unusual.

    The first case in Britain has been found in a swan in Scotland.

    The disease cannot pass from person to person so, at the moment, there is no danger of its spreading very fast in what is called an epidemic.

    If you see a dead bird, you should not touch it but tell an adult who can arrange for the bird to be checked to see if it has bird flu.

    It is perfectly safe to eat cooked eggs and meat such as chicken and turkey – only raw bird meat (poultry) should be avoided, and you should always wash your hands thoroughly after touching raw meat, anyway.

  3. Ask this question: If the danger to people is so small, why are some people worried about it?

    Explain that, in the future, there is a chance that the way in which the disease works could change (use and explain ‘mutate’ for older children), allowing it to spread between people, but this has not happened yet. All the news about bird flu is to do with scientists and the government getting ready in case this happens.

  4. Explain that the government is well prepared with medical supplies and plans in place to stop bird flu spreading.
  5. Provide as much encouragement as you can and run through the simple dos and don’ts:

    − Do carry on eating cooked meat such as chicken.

    − Do tell a grown up if you see a dead bird.

    − Do remember that bird flu is a bird disease − it does not pass from person to person.

    − Don’t touch a dead bird.−

    − Most importantly – don’t worry!

Time for reflection


Think of how lucky we are to live at a time when illnesses are so well understood and plans can be made to stop diseases spreading.

Think of how lucky we are to live at a time when medicine is so advanced.

Think again of the simple dos and don’ts (repeat if necessary) – all join in on ‘don’t worry’.


Dear God,

Thank you for scientists and the work they do in understanding the world and helping to keep us safe.



‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 65)

Publication date: 2006   (Vol.8)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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