Denmark suspects, Sweden confirms H5N1 in birds

first_imgMar 15, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The avian influenza spotlight shifted to Scandinavia today as Denmark reported finding an H5 virus in a wild bird and Sweden confirmed suspicions that wild ducks were infected with H5N1 virus, according to news agencies.In addition, a sketchy report out of Azerbaijan said a dead stray dog was found infected with bird flu in Baku, the capital. The report didn’t specify the viral strain. There have been no previous confirmed reports of H5N1 avian flu in dogs.In Denmark, the Family and Consumer Affairs Ministry said a buzzard found on a beach south of Copenhagen was infected with an H5 virus, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report. The story said authorities would send a sample from the bird to the European Union reference laboratory in Britain for further testing.”We can confirm the first case of bird flu has been found in Denmark,” Minister for Family and Consumer Affairs Lars Barfoed was quoted as saying.Although this marked the first case of H5 avian flu in Denmark, a milder strain turned up in ducks on a farm in September 2003, AFP reported.In Sweden, the National Board of Agriculture said a European Union laboratory had confirmed H5N1 virus in two wild ducks found on the southeastern coast, according to an Associated Press (AP) report today.Sweden first reported suspected cases of avian flu in wild ducks in late February. By Mar 10 there were reports of 13 ducks infected with H5 viruses, but there was no confirmation of H5N1 until today.In Azerbaijan, a state commission in charge of fighting avian flu reported the infected dog, according to a Reuters story. The commission was quoted as saying, “A dead stray dog has been found, and after analysis type A bird flu was discovered. The medical investigation is continuing.” The commission said the dog died Mar 9 in Baku. There was no indication whether the virus was an H5 or some other strain.The report comes a few days after the discovery of an H5N1-infected stone marten (a weasel-like animal) in Germany and weeks after reports of a few infected domestic cats in Austria and Germany. Other nonhuman species that have been infected with H5N1 avian flu, either naturally or experimentally, include tigers, leopards, palm civets, ferrets, rats, pigs, cynomolgus macaques, and New Zealand white rabbits.In Afghanistan, authorities today said preliminary test results left them all but certain they were facing an H5N1 outbreak in birds, according to an AP report.Testing at a United Nations lab in Rome was expected to confirm the outbreak in the next 24 hours, said Mustafa Zahir, director of the government’s environment department, according to the story.”We are 99 percent certain,” Zahir was quoted as saying.The military government of Myanmar reported it had killed 5,000 poultry within 2 miles of the farm where the country’s first outbreak of H5N1 was found last week, according to an AP report today.Meanwhile, AFP reported that Myanmar’s rulers were maintaining a news blackout about the outbreak, leaving farmers worried and unsure how to prevent the disease.The country’s tightly controlled news media have not carried any stories about the outbreak, AFP reported. The only available information has come from short-wave radio and from posters that authorities have placed in Mandalay’s markets, where poultry vendors have been banned, the story said.A farmer named Shi, who has 750 chickens on the outskirts of Mandalay, said officials had given her no information about bird flu and no instructions on what to do with her chickens, according to AFP.”I still don’t know what the symptoms of bird flu are, so how can I know if my chickens will die of bird flu?” Shi was quoted as saying.Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, researchers announced the launching of a study in Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia on the dosage of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) given to bird flu patients, according to the AP.Many countries are stockpiling oseltamivir in the hope that it will help protect people if the H5N1 virus evolves into a human pandemic strain. However, as noted in the AFP report, the virus has shown resistance to the drug in a few cases in Vietnam. The report gave no details on what the study involves.According to a study published last December, a Vietnamese girl died of avian flu even though she began receiving oseltamivir within the first 2 days of illness, the recommended window for effective treatment. The authors of the study said that a higher dosage of the drug or longer treatment course might be needed to ensure effectiveness.See also:Dec 22, 2005, CIDRAP News story “Tamiflu resistance in avian flu victims sparks concern”last_img read more

Receivers take center stage during Tuesday’s football practice

first_imgFollowing a scrimmage on Howard Jones Field Saturday, the Trojans were back to regular practice on Tuesday. In the early weeks of camp, the USC defense stood out with its speed and forced turnovers. But on Tuesday, the offense took center stage. “Offensively, it’s probably been our best practice of spring thus far,” head coach Clay Helton said. The Trojans have holes to fill at the wide receiver position. With JuJu Smith-Schuster, Darreus Rogers, De’Quan Hampton and Isaac Whitney leaving, younger players now have an opportunity to step up, and they impressed their head coach with a strong practice.“I was really proud of the young wide receivers,” Helton said. “The light really clicked on for them today.”After redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold struggled the first few weeks with interceptions, quarterbacks coach Tyson Helton stressed that timing develops over time, and at this point in the spring, mistakes are understandable.“You’ve got to talk things over about what the quarterback sees, what the receiver sees,” Helton said. “It’s timing more than anything. The receiver has to understand what the quarterback’s thinking, where he’s going to go and the timing of all of that.”While spring practice has been a transition phase, Darnold appears to be getting more comfortable with the younger targets. When asked who has stood out the most to him in spring practice thus far, Darnold did not single anyone out.“All the receivers have been standing out the most to me,” Darnold said. While Darnold already has chemistry with junior wideout Deontay Burnett and his tight ends, redshirt sophomore Daniel Imatorbhebhe and junior Tyler Petite, the likes of sophomore Michael Pittman Jr. and redshirt freshmen Velus Jones Jr. and Tyler Vaughns look to make strides in the receiving game.“We’re looking forward to keeping it going and keep rolling through spring,” Darnold said. “And then hopefully it continues into summer workouts.”Pittman impressed in practice on Tuesday, consistently making plays and catching several of Darnold’s passes in the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. One of the more experienced wideouts, Pittman drew praise from his coaches.“[Michael] had a good scrimmage on Saturday,” offensive coordinator Tee Martin said. “He made some, what I like to say, ‘Big boy plays’ … and today he was really strong [and] played physical.”Jones has also continued to impress coaches with his playmaking ability. In the 7-on-7 portion of practice, Jones made an impressive touchdown catch over junior safety Marvell Tell III. With so many pass catchers turning heads, Helton praised Darnold’s work.“He’s really playing against the defense, and he’s not focused on one particular guy,” Helton said. “He’s really mixing the ball around nicely, and he did that again today.” While it will take time for chemistry to develop in the passing game, Darnold will rely on his talented supporting cast to power the Trojans through the upcoming campaign — one with championship aspirations.last_img read more