Month: November 2020

  • Avian flu death reported in Thailand

    first_imgSep 9, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – An 18-year-old boy in Thailand who had been exposed to sick chickens died yesterday of H5N1 avian influenza, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today.The WHO said Thailand’s Ministry of Health reported the case. The young man was from Prachinburi province in eastern Thailand, where H5N1 avian flu erupted in poultry earlier this year. The man was hospitalized Sep 5 and died of acute respiratory distress 3 days later, the WHO said.A Reuters report today said the man had raised fighting cocks.On the basis of WHO figures, the death raises the number of human cases of avian flu this year to 40, including 29 deaths. There have been 13 cases with 9 deaths in Thailand and 27 cases with 20 deaths in Vietnam.In other developments, Malaysian officials have ruled out avian flu in two people who were hospitalized with suspected cases, according to an Agence France-Presse report today. The patients were a 10-year-old boy and a 45-year-old veterinarian. The story said no new suspected human cases have been reported.Bernama, Malaysia’s national news agency, said today that culling of chickens and ducks around the site of the country’s second recent outbreak of avian flu has ended. The affected area is at Kampung Belian in the Tumpat district in northern Malaysia.See also:Sep 9 WHO announcement read more

  • NIAID to map flu virus genomes

    first_imgNov 18, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The federal government announced this week it is launching a campaign to map the genetic blueprint of thousands of human and avian influenza viruses in an effort to better understand how flu viruses evolve, spread, and cause disease. See also: The effort will be conducted in part by the NIAID Microbial Sequencing Center at The Institute for Genomics Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Md., officials said. The NIAID will publish the sequence information through GenBank, an international online database funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and through the NIAID Bioinformatics Resource Center, an online collection of genetic sequence data with analysis tools. “This project is the influenza-virus equivalent of the human genome project,” Robert G. Webster, PhD, professor of virology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, commented in the news release. St. Jude has a collection of more than 12,000 avian flu viruses and will sequence their genomes. Also this week, the NIAID announced the launch of an updated Web site on flu research for the media and the public. Officials said the “Focus on the Flu” site includes information on cutting-edge NIAID-supported flu research; graphics that illuminate concepts important in flu research, such as reverse genetics and antigenic shift and drift; health-related fact sheets; recent NIAID publications and congressional testimony; and other resources. “Our goal is to provide scientists with the infrastructure they need to uncover potential targets for new vaccines, therapies and diagnostics against influenza,” the NIAID’s Maria Y. Giovanni, PhD, said in the news release.center_img Besides TIGR and St. Jude, NIAID partners in the project include the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the NIH’s National Library of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health in Troy, and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, DC. In a Nov 15 news release, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said it will work with several other institutions on the genome sequencing project. The effort could reduce the impact of annual flu outbreaks and improve knowledge of how pandemic flu viruses emerge, the agency said. Nov 15 NIAID news release on flu virus genome project The NIAID said the project will enhance preparedness for flu pandemics by publishing genetic sequences of emerging avian flu viruses, allowing scientists to analyze the strains and begin to develop vaccines against them.last_img read more

  • Report depicts China as launching pad for avian flu

    first_imgFeb 10, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – An analysis of influenza viruses collected from thousands of wild and domestic birds in China and Hong Kong suggests that H5N1 viruses have been circulating in southern China for nearly a decade and have spread repeatedly from there to spark outbreaks across Asia.The study by 27 researchers from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the United States provides strong evidence that migratory birds can spread the virus for long distances, a contention that has been controversial in recent months. The report was published online today by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Perhaps more surprising is the group’s discovery of H5N1 viruses in some apparently healthy chickens in live-bird markets in southern China. Ducks are known to be capable of carrying the virus without appearing sick, but the virus has been regarded as almost invariably pathogenic or lethal for chickens.”We have shown that H5N1 virus has persisted in its birthplace, southern China, for almost 10 years and has been repeatedly introduced into neighboring (e.g., Vietnam) and distant (e.g., Indonesia) regions, establishing ‘colonies’ of H5N1 virus throughout Asia that directly exacerbate the pandemic threat,” says the report, written by a team that included leading flu expert Robert G. Webster, PhD, of St. Jude Children’s Research Institute in Memphis.The scientists took more than 13,000 samples from migratory birds in Hong Kong’s Mai Po Marshes and at Poyang Lake in southeastern China over three winters from 2002 to 2005. Among these they found six H5N1 viruses, all collected from apparently healthy migratory ducks at Poyang Lake just before their migration north.The team also tested samples gathered from more than 51,000 apparently healthy birds in live-poultry markets in southern China from January 2004 through June 2005. Testing detected 512 H5N1 viruses, including isolates from 58 of the 22,390 chickens tested, with most of the rest found in ducks.The analysis also included viruses recovered from the outbreak in migratory birds at Qinghai Lake in north-central China in 2005, along with isolates collected from poultry in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia in the past 2 years.To trace the relationships among H5N1 samples, the researchers sequenced the genomes of 69 viruses recovered in China since January 2004 and 59 isolates gathered in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia from August 2003 through May 2005. This enabled them to construct a phylogenetic chart, or family tree, of the viruses.Among other things, the analysis revealed that the hemagglutinin protein of all the viruses stemmed from the patriarch of highly pathogenic H5N1 viruses, a strain found in geese in China’s Guangdong province in 1996. It also showed that viruses from particular regions formed “distinct sublineages,” which, the authors say, demonstrates the long-term persistence of the viruses in those regions.Parts of southern China represented an exception to this picture of regional “sublineages,” in that the strains there were more diverse, falling into four different genotypes, the report says. “Because the precursor of these H5N1 viruses . . . was originally detected in southern China in 1996 and because H5N1 viruses in this region have the greatest genetic diversity, southern China is the most likely source of the emergent and reemergent HPAI [highly pathogenic] H5N1 influenza viruses,” it states.The phylogenetic analysis also showed that one May 2005 virus from Vietnam was much more closely related to a January 2005 Chinese strain than to other strains from Vietnam, indicating that the virus probably had been recently introduced to Vietnam from China via poultry. In fact, the authors say their findings suggest that H5N1 strains spread from southern China to Vietnam three times—in 2001, 2003, and 2005.”Therefore, control of this regional epizootic and its attendant pandemic threat requires that the source of virus in southern China be contained,” they assert.The researchers found that viruses from the Qinghai Lake outbreak matched up with those from migratory ducks at Poyang Lake, more than 1,000 miles away, which “strongly argues that migrating birds can transfer the virus over long distances.” The team found further support for this notion when they exposed a number of ducks and geese to H5N1 viruses and found that most of the ducks survived; the surviving ducks shed the virus for as long as 7 days after infection.The report says only six of the isolates that were sequenced had a mutation in the M2 protein that confers resistance to the older antiviral drug amantadine; the rest all had structures indicating sensitivity to the drug. US officials recently recommended against using amantadine and rimantadine to treat flu patients this winter because most of the circulating viruses had become resistant to them. Also, previous evidence of H5N1 resistance to the two drugs has led to a general assumption that they would be of little use if that virus evolves into a pandemic strain.The authors say the diversity they found among H5N1 samples “challenges the wisdom” of relying on just one strain to make a candidate vaccine for pandemic preparedness. The strains used to develop human vaccines “must reflect the antigenic diversity observed across this wider region,” they write.Chen H, Smith GJD, Li KS, et al. Establishment of multiple sublineages of H5N1 influenza virus in Asia: implications for pandemic control. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2006 Feb 10 (early online publication) [Abstract]last_img read more

  • NEWS SCAN: Anthrax probe, tainted sprout seeds, Egypt’s H5N1 fatality rate

    first_imgMay 8, 2009 Contaminated sprout seeds sow multistate outbreakA probe by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of a Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak traced to alfalfa sprouts found that seeds from one company were used by several sprout growers around the country that had links to illnesses. Despite tests on several sprout samples, the outbreak strain was found only at a Wisconsin grower whose products were not linked to any illness reports. The outbreak started in February and sickened 228 people in 13 states.[May 7 MMWR report] IOM launches anthrax case reviewThe Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) review of the FBI investigation of the 2001 anthrax letter attacks is beginning and should take about 15 months, Science magazine reported. After scientific questions arose about the FBI’s case against Army researcher Bruce Ivins, FBI Director Robert Mueller announced that he would ask the IOM to review the scientific methods that led to the FBI’s conclusions.[May 6 Science article]center_img Prompt medical treatment might impact Egypt’s H5N1 patternsA Eurosurveillance report published yesterday said that 50% of patients with H5N1 avian flu in Egypt were hospitalized within 24 hours of symptom onset and 70% were hospitalized within 72 hours. This may help explain why the H5N1 case-fatality rate in Egypt is only 34%, versus an average of 66% in other countries, though more research is needed, the report said.[May 7 Eurosurveillance report]last_img read more

  • Arriva, after Panturist and Autotrans Group, wants to take over Autotrolej

    first_imgThe Croatian branch of the German transport group Arriva wants to take over Autotrolej, it has been confirmed New List from Arriva Hrvatska, which has already taken over the ownership of Autotrans, one of the largest carriers in the segment of passenger transport in Croatia, as well as Panturist. Thus, after taking over Autotrans and its intercity bus lines, Arriva plans to enter the city transport market by taking over or entering into a partnership with Autotrolej. Arriva provides public transport throughout Europe, from London through Copenhagen to Budapest, and given the rich experience, interest in entering this business segment exists in Rijeka as a logical continuation of the development of our business in Croatia. Arriva confirms that they are interested in buying the Rijeka utility company or partnering with the current co-owners, and they see their entry into Autotrolej as a logical continuation of their business journey in Croatia, based on experience in public transport in many European cities. RELATED NEWS: Arriva is one of the largest passenger transport providers in Europe, employing more than 60 people and making more than 2,2 billion trips. The group operates in 14 European countries where it provides a wide range of transport services: bus and rail transport and water bus transport, for which purpose passengers have at their disposal 20.959 buses, 1.299 seats in trains and 21 water buses. ARRIVA TAKES OVER AUTOTRANS GROUP AND BECOMES A LEADING PASSENGER TRANSPORT COMPANY IN CROATIA “We are interested in all forms of cooperation, so taking over the entire ownership share in KD Autotrolej is also possible, of course with the precondition that there is a common interest and a healthy economic basis, “she confirmed. head of corporate affairs at Arriva Hrvatske Marina Pandurević at Novi List. ARRIVA INVESTS 40 MILLION HRK IN PANTURISTlast_img read more