Jun 24, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – As poultry were being culled in China and Vietnam to prevent further spread of avian influenza outbreaks this week, international experts were visiting both countries to better understand how the H5N1 virus is behaving.Ducks in central Vietnam were being culled after authorities discovered that one-fifth of the waterfowl in Quang Tri province carry the H5N1 virus, China’s Xinhau news service reported today, basing the story on a Vietnamese newspaper, Saigon Liberation. More than 23,000 birds have already been culled in 38 infected flocks, with another 144 flocks untested, Xinhua reported.As many as 120,000 to 150,000 birds may be culled, according to a report today by the Vietnamese news service Thanh Nien News, which also cited the Saigon Liberation as its source.In response to the outbreaks, the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry extended an existing ban on egg incubation for breeding poultry and building new waterfowl or quail flocks through February 2006, according to the Vietnam News Service (VNS). In addition, the country’s state bank has asked that commercial banks refuse loans to farmers and businesses that produce breeding poultry and waterfowl, VNS reported today.This is the second outbreak in Vietnamese poultry in about a week. Prior to that, the country had been free of bird outbreaks since April, Xinhua reported. However, human cases of H5N1 infection have continued without a major break since mid-December 2004.Possible and confirmed human H5N1 infections in Vietnam are the focus of intense study by a visiting team of experts from Britain, Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States, according to a Canadian Press (CP) report today. The team of about half a dozen virologists and epidemiologists is investigating whether the H5N1 virus has changed in ways that make a flu pandemic more likely.The team is working in Vietnam at the government’s request, Maria Cheng, a World Health Organization (WHO) spokeswoman, told the CP.Their tasks include studying clusters of cases to determine the extent of human-to-human transmission and analyzing tests on hundreds of stored human blood samples that may indicate scores of undetected human H5N1 infections, the CP reported.Those findings are questionable because they relied on the Western blot test, which is not the gold standard for flu testing, the CP story said.Authorities are negotiating to transfer the blood samples to a site where appropriate tests can be performed—a lab with the biosafety rating to conduct neutralization assays considered the gold standard for flu testing, the CP reported.In China, international experts sent by the WHO and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) were studying the H5N1 outbreak in Qinghai province this week and recently received approval to do the same in neighboring Xinjiang province, the International Herald Tribune reported yesterday.China has had three avian outbreaks of H5N1 in recent weeks, including one this week that involved the deaths of 180 ducks and geese, according to its reports to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). In all, at least 1,490 birds were culled, according to a Jun 21 story by Agence France-Presse (AFP).Authorities are also pressuring China for details of farmers’ reported use of the human antiviral drug amantadine to control and prevent poultry outbreaks of H5N1. Scrutiny has extended to questions over whether China has used oseltamivir, one of a newer class of human antiviral drugs, on poultry, the CP reported on Jun 23.The WHO asked China to investigate whether farmers have used oseltamivir in poultry, and the FAO has urged China to prevent such use, the CP story said. Several countries are stockpiling oseltamivir for use in the event of a flu pandemic. Current strains of H5N1 are resistant to amantadine, but it could also be useful in a pandemic, depending on the nature of the pandemic virus, experts say.A spokesman for the company that makes oseltamivir, Roche, said the company doesn’t sell the product to agro-chemical businesses, the CP story said.The report quoted WHO spokesman Dick Thompson as saying, “It’s clear to us that the [Chinese] Ministry of Health shares our concerns about this and they understand the importance of . . . the possible use of this antiviral in agriculture, that it might force or speed [development of] a resistant strain.”
President Trump likens the House impeachment inquiry to a “lynching.” He tweeted the controversial reference this morning and said Democrats are denying him due process, fairness or any legal rights. Trump added — “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here…But we will WIN!” The African American lawmaker asked — “Do you know how many people who look like me have been lynched, since the inception of this country, by people who look like you?” Rush demanded that Trump delete his tweet. Illinois Democrat Bobby Rush fired back on Twitter, saying — “You think this impeachment is a LYNCHING? What the hell is wrong with you?”
A Florida teenager is hurt after a bizarre incident during an Uber ride.The 15-year-old Broward County girl was accidentally shot in the ankle by her Uber driver last weekend as he was trying to holster his gun.The driver, Adrian Harper is charged with culpable negligence. A member of our well regulated militia (and @Uber driver) moves his loaded gun with passengers in his car. He fires the gun and shoots a 15 year old girl through her ankle and heel. https://t.co/nm9k549Nt5— WellRegulatedMilitia (@Well_Regulated_) October 22, 2019 Also, Uber has cut ties with Harper because the company doesn’t allow drivers to carry guns or give rides to unaccompanied minors.
Palm Beach County can expect wet weather through the weekend before we dry out as Christmas approaches, according to the National Weather Service.A low-pressure system that is developing in the Gulf of Mexico could cause storms and tornadoes in South Florida beginning on Saturday. The NWS in Miami predicts we will see severe storms, heavy rain and flooding through Sunday.East winds of 15 mph are expected throughout weekend, with high gusts into the low 30s on Saturday night. Wind speeds should fall on Sunday morning to a high between 10 and 15 mph.Marine conditions will include wind speeds as high as 35 knots all weekend. The weather service issued a gale watch for the Atlantic that began Thursday night, and advises that the risk of rip currents in the ocean will remain high into next week.NWS meteorologist Larry Kelly says waves will remain in the range of 7 to 9 feet during the weekend, before subsiding early next week.Graphic courtesy: WPEC/CBS12Another cold front is forecast to reach our region Monday morning, with temperatures dropping into the upper 50s and low 60s near Lake Okeechobee. Temperatures along the Atlantic coast should be warmer, with the high Monday expected to be in the 70s.The cold front will extend into Tuesday. Morning temperatures are predicted to be in the upper 50s and low 60s, rising to the 70s as the day progresses. Both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day should remain sunny.
Florida Senator Annette Taddeo filed a bill on Monday that, if passed, would make the day after Halloween a school holiday.The bill would require district school boards to designate the day after Halloween as a school holiday, unless Halloween falls on a Friday or Saturday.If the bill passe it would go into effect on July 1, 2020.