Our opening week bear orientation should have gone something like this:
(Important Note: This is only a joke i.e. there is no bird flu)
Hi, My name is Matt King and I would like to welcome you to Katmai NP. Normally, I would give you information on the bears in order to help keep you safe and enjoy your visit. Instead you won’t have to worry about that since the bears are avoiding all human contact. If you have not noticed yet I am one of 3 rangers around Brooks Camp at this time. Currently a plague has swept through and infected the entire camp exhibiting symptoms similar to a combination of strep throat and the flu. Also a few birds have been found dead in the area, so this could be the first documented case of bird flu in the U.S. We cannot be sure of this since the only personnel trained to judge such a situation are currently bed ridden with high fevers. I would like to wish you good luck and hope that you brought various types of medication with you. If not I look forward to seeing you on my cultural walk at 2 pm where I will point out plants the native Aleutiq people used to treat illnesses.
In truth many in camp had this illness. My roommate felt bad for a week before finally sleeping for 36 hours straight. He was flown into King Salmon on Memorial Day where he stayed for 5 days and was proscribed 56 antibiotic pills that he is still taking (that’s 4 a day for 14 days). Most people in camp who started feeling ill with similar symptoms started taking the antibiotics they had the foresight to bring. Even with all that illness floating around, I am currently not sick...knock on wood. I guess something should be said for building up an immune system by living in a house for 4 years that is kept dirty by 11 roommates that smoke. :)