Joe Giudice Reunites With Daughters for 1st Time in Nearly 1 Year

first_imgHe and Teresa, 48, called it quits in December 2019 after 20 years of marriage.“Teresa and Joe have separated, but have no plans to divorce yet,” a source told Us Weekly at the time. “Teresa and Joe talked about their future when she and the girls were in Italy and decided it was best for them to separate. Neither of them wanted to be in a long-distance relationship. Joe has been dating in Italy, Teresa is busy taking care of their girls right now. They harbor no ill will towards each other and will continue to coparent their kids.”- Advertisement – Reunited and it feels so good! Joe Giudice and Teresa Giudice’s four daughters visited their dad in Italy for the first time in 2020.“Happy to be back,” Milania, 15, captioned a Friday, November 6, Instagram photo of herself smiling with the former reality star, 48.Joe Giudice Reunites With His Daughters for 1st Time in Nearly 1 YearJoe Giudice and Milania Giudice Courtesy of Milania Giudice/Instagram- Advertisement – – Advertisement – The former couple finalized their divorce in September, and Joe has been dating “a lawyer.”He told Wendy Williams the following month: “She’s helping out a lot out here, it’s good because I have a lot of things going on out here and she’s putting together a lot of deals for me. We’ve been seeing each other, you know what I mean? I wouldn’t say that we’re boyfriend, girlfriend, but we’re kind of like hanging out a lot.”Joe went on to say that he talks to his daughters “every day,” saying, “Melania was just gonna call me now. I was watching them play soccer yesterday through the phone. So, good thing for the phones. It’s better to be there in person, but what are you gonna do? Right now, I wouldn’t be able to come there anyway.”Listen to Us Weekly’s Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories! The teenager went on to post Instagram Story videos with her siblings — Gia, 19, Gabriella, 16, and Audriana, 11 — walking through Rome. “We’re back,” she wrote.Joe’s daughters last came to Italy in December 2019. “They are so cute so happy,” he captioned an Instagram video at the time. The Italy native said in the footage: “Welcome to Italy again. I love you. You’re so cute.”That was Joe’s second visit with his kids since he moved to Italy in October following his deportation order. He was taken into ICE custody seven months prior after completing a 41-month prison sentence.- Advertisement –last_img read more

Alex Trebek’s Final ‘Jeopardy!’ Episode to Air on Christmas Day

first_imgTrebek was diagnosed with cancer in March 2019 and continued to host the long-running quiz show for 18 months. He detailed his battle with the disease in his memoir, The Answer Is, which was published in July.“I’ve lived a good, full life, and I’m nearing the end of it. I know that,” he wrote, telling readers that he was “not afraid of dying.”Nearly one year into his cancer battle, the Canada native revealed that he had rehearsed the ending for his final episode of Jeopardy!, which he began hosting in 1984.- Advertisement – “The show is not announcing plans for a new host at this time,” the press release stated after many Twitter users called for Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time champion Ken Jennings to take over.Jeopardy! announced earlier on Sunday that Trebek died at home while surrounded by family and friends.“This is an enormous loss for the Jeopardy! staff, crew and all of Alex’s millions of fans,” executive producer Mike Richards said in a statement. “He was a legend of the industry that we were all lucky to watch night after night for 37 years. Working beside him for the past year and a half as he heroically continued to host Jeopardy! was an incredible honor. His belief in the importance of the show and his willingness to push himself to perform at the highest level was the most inspiring demonstration of courage I have ever seen. His constant desire to learn, his kindness, and his professionalism will be with all of us forever.”- Advertisement – “What I would do on that day is tell the director, ‘Time the show down to leave me 30 seconds at the end. That’s all I want,’” he said on Good Morning America in January. “I will say my goodbyes and I will tell people, ‘Don’t ask me who’s going to replace me because I have no say whatsoever. But I’m sure that if you give them the same love and attention and respect that you have shown me, then they will be a success and the show will continue being a success. And until we meet again, God bless you and goodbye.’”Trebek is survived by his wife, Jean Currivan Trebek, and his children, Nicky, Matthew and Emily.Listen to Watch With Us to hear more about your favorite shows and for the latest TV news! One last go-around. New episodes of Jeopardy! featuring Alex Trebek will air through Christmas Day, Sony Pictures Television announced on Sunday, November 8, after the longtime host’s death.The production company said in a press release that Trebek was last in the studio on October 29, just 10 days before he lost his battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer at the age of 80. His final episode of the Merv Griffin-created game show is set to air on December 25.Alex Trebek’s Final ‘Jeopardy!’ Episode to Air on Christmas DayAlex Trebek. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

China’s Tencent Holdings Profit Surges 89 Percent After Honour of Kings Launch

first_img“The year-on-year revenue growth rate was therefore lower than previous quarters, which we expect to be temporary in nature,” Tencent said.© Thomson Reuters 2020Which is the best TV under Rs. 25,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. Tencent made CNY 38.5 billion (roughly Rs. 43,400 crores) profit for the three months through September. That was ahead of an analyst average estimate of CNY 30.81 billion (roughly Rs. 34,700 crores), according to data from Refinitiv. Revenue rose 29 percent to CNY 125.4 billion (roughly Rs. 1,41,300 crores).The Chinese group has a solid pipeline of new games waiting to be released, including a recent testing launch of a mobile version of League of Legends in Asia.The company also saw a return to normalcy in advertising activity following the COVID-19 outbreak, with rapid growth in sectors such as education, internet services and e-commerce platforms.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Chinese gaming and social media giant Tencent reported an 89 percent rise in quarterly profit on Thursday, with its blockbuster game Honour of Kings and solid advertising businesses helping it to beat forecasts and lifting its shares. The world’s largest gaming firm by revenue has benefited from healthy growth of paying users for video games in China and international markets.Its flagship game Honor of Kings reported a record 100 million daily active users in the first 10 months of 2020.- Advertisement – Its shares closed 4.72 percent up, against a 0.22 percent decline in the Hang Seng index.They rebounded from a 7 percent plunge on Wednesday, when Tencent celebrated its 22nd birthday, as investors dumped shares in Chinese tech companies following publication of draft anti-monopoly rules that also wiped out hundreds of billions of dollars off some tech giants including Alibaba.Tencent said revenue from its cloud and other business services, a potential future growth engine, were affected by the lingering impact of the pandemic, such as delays in project deployment and new contract sign-ups.- Advertisement –last_img read more

US election 2020: Biden takes Georgia to solidify victory

first_imgThe president-elect is the first Democrat projected to win in Georgia since 1992.- Advertisement –last_img

David Andahl, 55, Dies; Elected Posthumously in North Dakota

first_img– Advertisement – Mr. Andahl won the endorsement of two of the state’s most influential Republicans, Gov. Doug Burgum and Senator Kevin Cramer, with Senator Cramer telling the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he backed Mr. Andahl “because we need more Trump Republicans in the state legislature.”But at the same time, the deadly coronavirus was surging across the country, especially in North Dakota. Mr. Andahl, who already had unspecified health issues, was cautious about the virus, his family wrote on Facebook. But in late September he became ill and was hospitalized in Bismarck. On Oct. 5, with the election a month away, he died after “a short battle with Covid-19,” the family said. He was 55.At that point, it was too late to take his name off the ballot. On Nov. 3, the residents of District 8, a sprawling rural area north of Bismarck, elected him posthumously to the legislature.- Advertisement – This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.He was known as “Dakota Dave,” a walking, talking billboard for his home state of North Dakota.- Advertisement – This year, he sought to take a step up by running for the state House of Representatives. Mr. Andahl cleared the first hurdle, winning a heated Republican primary in June against a longtime incumbent, state Representative Jeff Delzer, chairman of the powerful appropriations committee. David Dean Andahl was passionate about farming, cattle ranching and racecar driving, a sport he pursued at tracks around the world. He was also president of Dakota Sports Marketing, where he promoted the state’s economic and tourism opportunities.And he was interested in politics. A member of the Burleigh County Planning and Zoning Commission for 16 years, he served as chairman for eight.center_img – Advertisement – A political squabble ensued over how to fill the seat. The governor sought to make an appointment but was blocked by the attorney general. The matter was unresolved and is in court, Loren DeWitz, chairman of the District 8 Republican Party, said in a phone interview. At an outdoor memorial service for Mr. Andahl, he was remembered for being a man of his word; for his love of his dogs, Bear, Zeus and Hank; and for his willingness to lend a hand, whether, as one friend put it, “building a deck, borrowing a tool, hauling many loads of dirt or just being there to drink and listen.” His drink of choice was Glenlivet single malt.Mr. Andahl was born on Oct. 30, 1964, in Bismarck. He obtained his associate’s degree from Bismarck State College and studied animal science at North Dakota State University. His survivors include his parents, Ronald and Patricia Andahl; his sister, Darcy; and his son, Charles (Tia) Lacy.Mr. Andahl was also a partner and general manager of 4T Ranch, which has been in the Andahl family for three generations. As Bismarck grew, developers expressed interest in buying pieces of 4T Ranch. Instead of selling, the family created its own company, 4T Ranch Developers, Inc., with Mr. Andahl as president, and built a rural housing subdivision called “The Ranch.”last_img read more

Clinical study points to cytokine storm in H5N1 cases

first_imgSep 11, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A controlled study of H5N1 influenza patients in Vietnam has provided fresh evidence that explosive viral growth and the resulting cytokine storm, or excessive immune response, account for the often lethal nature of H5N1 disease.The study underlines the importance of early antiviral treatment to stop the viral population explosion. The authors, led by Menno de Jong of the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, suggest that treatment to blunt the late-stage immune response should also be explored.”Our observations point to a central role for high viral burden in the pathogenesis of human H5N1 disease and suggest that timely suppression of viral replication should remain the mainstay of treatment of influenza H5N1,” states the report, published online yesterday by Nature Medicine.The study has also prompted experts to mention the possibility of using intravenous antiviral treatment in an effort to move drugs to the sites of viral activity faster than is possible with oral drugs like oseltamivir (Tamiflu).De Jong’s team conducted virologic and immunologic studies on 18 H5N1 patients and eight patients with ordinary seasonal flu (H3N2 and H1N1 viruses) in 2004 and 2005. Thirteen of the 18 H5N1 patients died of the illness. The H5N1 patients presented for treatment an average of 6 days after the onset of illness—well beyond the recommended 2-day window for starting antiviral treatment. The researchers looked for the virus in samples from the nose, throat, blood, and rectum.Among the virologic findings:H5N1 patients had more viral material (viral RNA) in the throat than in the nose, and they had more viral RNA in the throat than patients with ordinary flu had.H5N1 patients who died had the highest levels of viral RNA.Viral traces were found in blood samples from 9 of the 16 H5N1 patients whose blood was tested; viral RNA in blood was associated with high viral loads in throat specimens.Viral RNA was found in rectal samples from 5 of 7 H5N1 patients, and three of these had diarrhea.The researchers also examined the blood levels of seven cytokines and chemokines—molecular messengers that call various kinds of immune cells into action, triggering inflammation. They found that H5N1 patients had significantly higher levels of 6 out of 7 of these substances than seasonal flu patients had. In addition, levels of four chemokines were particularly high in H5N1 patients who died.”Our observations indicate that high viral load, and the resulting intense inflammatory responses, are central to influenza H5N1 pathogenesis,” the authors write. “The focus of clinical management should be on preventing this intense cytokine response, by early diagnosis and effective antiviral treatment.”They add that the limited effectiveness of antiviral treatment in H5N1 patients when started late may reflect the inability of the drugs to stop the cytokine storm at that point. At that stage, they suggest, treatment to limit or change the immune response “has potential benefits.” But they emphasize that the main focus should be on early diagnosis and antiviral treatment.The central question raised by the study, according to infectious disease expert Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, is, “At what level of viremia does the cytokine storm get triggered? Once that happens, does it matter what the ongoing level of viral activity happens to be? Once the cytokine storm begins, it’s already too late to have any impact with antivirals.”Osterholm, who is director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of the CIDRAP Web site, said he doesn’t know of anyone who has tried immunosuppressive or anti-inflammatory drugs to stop the cytokine storm in H5N1 patients.”No one knows what the consequences of that might be,” he said. Reducing the immune response could backfire by allowing the virus to run wild, he suggested.Virologist Frederick G. Hayden, MD, said intravenous administration might improve the effectiveness of antiviral treatment in H5N1 disease, according to a Canadian Press report published yesterday.”A potent parenteral agent . . . is really needed and will give us the ability, I hope, to more rapidly control replication in patients with these kinds of severe infections,” Hayden was quoted as saying.Hayden, of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, heads a World Health Organization research network that plans to assess various treatment regimens for H5N1 patients, the story said. The report said injectable forms of two antivirals—peramivir and zanamivir (Relenza)—are in development.Osterholm said intravenous drugs move into the system faster, but giving drugs intravenously is harder than giving them orally.  In a flu pandemic, he said, “Will there be IV bags available? If you give a drug that’s only IV, and then you run out of IV sets, you’ve got a problem.”De Jong MD, Simmons CP, Thanh TT, et al. Fatal outcome of human influenza A (H5N1) is associated with high viral load and hypercytokinemia. Nature Med 2006 Sep 10 (early online publication) [Abstract]See also:Nov 16, 2005, CIDRAP News story “Lab study supports idea of ‘cytokine storm’ in H5N1 flu”Oct 11, 2005, CIDRAP News story “Experts cite differences between H5N1 and ordinary flu”Dec 22, 2005, CIDRAP News story “Tamiflu resistance in avian flu victims sparks concern”last_img read more

Combating pandemic planning fatigue

first_img(CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing) – Business people convinced of the possibility of an influenza pandemic agree: Convincing reluctant managers, organizing continuity planning, and educating employees can be challenging.But if getting better prepared for a pandemic is tough, business managers say, keeping prepared is tougher.It’s bad enough, they agree, to have to convince reluctant managers and educate busy employees that a pandemic will be unlike any other hazard a company might face, like earthquakes, hurricanes, or terrorism. Such events are local or regional and occur over minutes to hours. Recovery resources from other areas of the country can be accessed quickly and the recovery process begun–even in the face of physical destruction.But for those responsible for private-sector pandemic preparedness, what remains untested and unclear is how companies and organizations will respond. How stable, for example, will today’s public utilities be? Will companies supplying critical parts or services be able to deliver? How many employees will come to work and over what period? The unknowns can be so confounding as to bring preparedness activities to a halt.Another challenge is finding reliable sources and information to act on for both meaningful planning and for delivering company information campaigns and training.After that, they say, comes the truly hard part: Sustaining the planning effort over the long haul.Experts say that preparing well for a catastrophic event takes time, thought, and repetition–but the more time that elapses, and the more repetitions employees go through, the more likely it is they will develop planning fatigue.Pan flu war games”This is a very serious issue,” said Len Pagano, president and CEO of the SafeAmerica Foundation, a Georgia-based nonprofit organization that has staged pandemic-planning business summits in Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. “If you come up with a plan, and then over a year you don’t touch the plan, you won’t only forget key points in the plan–you’ll begin to think the whole issue isn’t very important.”But keeping up awareness of the possible consequences of a pandemic–a global event that could last 8 to 12 weeks in any one location, cause up to 24 months of disruption around the globe, and kill 200,000 to 1.9 million just in the United States, according to the US government–is as essential as it is challenging.Pagano and the SafeAmerica Foundation recently landed on a new idea: They are staging a war game, with flu as the enemy.The exercise will last a week and take place in 2 to 6 plants belonging to a Fortune 100 heavy-industrial company that asked not to be identified for competitive reasons. The company will ask its workers to follow the social-distancing techniques that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends as a first-line defense. SafeAmerica will observe employees to gauge compliance, then report to the company’s management what recommendations were followed or ignored.An actual pandemic, of course, will last months and mean that employees will be subjected to many other stressors (loss of loved ones, trouble finding food or routine drugs for themselves or family members) that will change how employees respond during the real event. But if the experiment is successful, Pagano said, it will deliver what scenario exercises lack: the energy and creativity provoked by a real-time challenge.Keeping plans freshKeeping fresh in pandemic planning is a preoccupation for Steve Bergfeld, vice president of corporate services and administration at Baxter Healthcare Corp. of Illinois, part of Baxter International Inc.Baxter makes a range of medications and medical devices, including home dialysis solutions. The company is in a category the government calls critical infrastructure: 14 business sectors (from food production to energy to banking to information technology) that must keep functioning during a crisis in order for the United States to keep running.”As I go around and talk to my colleagues, everybody is saying the same thing: How do you keep this [planning] as a front-burner issue when we have so many other priorities and so much demanding our time,” Bergfeld said.Bergfeld was brought to Baxter 10 months ago to head a threat-management team of 23 people. The company’s process is arduous: monthly meetings to rank facilities worldwide against a list of “accountabilities”; regional audits that score facilities on 7 aspects of pandemic and disaster planning; on-site inspections; and tabletop exercises. Yet “I am always looking for new tools, new resources . . . the next creative way to keep this in front of people,” Bergfeld said.Mega-retailer Target Corporation, which has 7,000 employees just in its Minneapolis headquarters, formed a 30-person pandemic response team a year ago to work with its existing business continuity experts, who, up to then, had chiefly anticipated store closures due to natural disasters such as hurricanes as well as technology crises such as crashes in the company’s worldwide electronic networks.”What we do for business continuity prepares us for pandemic planning, and pandemic planning becomes a scenario within business continuity that we haven’t addressed in the past,” said Birch Holt, Target’s manager of business continuation.The pandemic team, Holt said, draws broadly from throughout the company, including representatives from crisis management, merchandising, and government affairs in addition to the pre-existing business continuation department.They began meeting in January 2006, starting with face-to-face, twice-monthly gatherings of at least an hour, initially mapping out plans for each major division, using pandemic flu–related information from the CDC (www.cdc.gov) and the World Health Organization (www.who.int) as well as a private risk-information company. With most of Target’s divisional plans now written and under review by senior management, the team has cut back to hour-long, face-to-face meetings once a month.Target will shortly hold its first pandemic tabletop exercise. Participants will represent each company sector that has prepared written plans. The results, Holt said, will expose new vulnerabilities to think through.Holt acknowledges that written documents (no matter how thought-out and granular) are not enough. On a board near his desk, he keeps a saying he attributes to World War II general and President Dwight D. Eisenhower: “In preparing for battle, I have found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”last_img read more

CDC funds work on rapid tests for avian flu

first_imgDec 4, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded four contracts worth $11.4 million in an effort to develop a 30-minute test for H5N1 avian influenza.The CDC said it awarded the funds to spur development of tests that doctors and field epidemiologists could use to test patients for both H5N1 and other flu viruses. Currently, testing for H5N1 in the United States must be done in 1 of about 100 designated laboratories and takes from 4 to 24 hours, depending on shipping time, the CDC said.Last month the World Health Organization (WHO) listed a rapid diagnostic test as one of the top priorities in avian and pandemic flu research. The CDC said it hopes a rapid test can be ready and licensed within 2 to 3 years.”The creation of a point-of-care test to rapidly detect human cases of H5N1 avian influenza would be a major step forward in our ability to protect public health,” Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said in a news release.The four companies, their tests, and the contract amounts are as follows:Cepheid, Sunnyvale, Calif.—GeneXPert Flu assay, $2.4 millionIquum, Marlborough, Mass.—LIAT, Lab-in-a-Tube, $3.8 millionMesoScale, Gaithersburg, Md.—Multi-Array Detection, $706,241Nanogen, San Diego—a novel point-of-care immunoassay system, $4.5 millionOver the next year, the companies will work to develop tests that can detect flu viruses and distinguish seasonal strains from H5N1 within 30 minutes, the CDC said. Existing rapid tests can tell only if a patient has a seasonal influenza A or B virus.CDC spokeswoman Christine Pearson told CIDRAP News the contracts are intended to fund the first two of five development phases.The goal for the first two phases is to produce a prototype test that can be evaluated by the CDC, said Dr. Ruben Donis, chief of the molecular virology and vaccines branch in the CDC’s influenza division. He said the agency will fund further development only if the prototype has “acceptable performance characteristics.”In a news release, Nanogen said that if the CDC funds all five development phases, the company would receive a total of about $12.5 million over the next 2 to 3 years.The four companies were chosen from 13 applicants, the CDC said. Selection criteria included the technical specifications of the test, experience in developing diagnostic tools, staff expertise, and access to labs with sufficient security to handle H5N1 viruses.The agency also promised to provide funds for a repository of influenza reagents and other materials to help in development of the tests.See also:Dec 4 CDC news releasehttp://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/r061204.htmlast_img read more

Groups chart ways to improve foodborne illness probes

first_img “Just the fact that the meeting was held was an important sign that the issue is being taken seriously,” he said. Coalition offers resourcesTim Jones, MD, state epidemiologist for the Tennessee Department of Health, attended the meeting and gave the group an overview of projects launched by the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response (CIFOR). The group is led by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and the National Association of County and City Health Officials. It receives funding from the CDC and collaborates with a host of other federal agencies and public health organizations. The FSIS plans to publish reports on the meeting and exercise within the next few months, he said. For example, he said the group learned that local authorities need to know more specific details when food products are recalled in the event of an illness outbreak. “Sometimes they don’t hear from federal or state officials” and don’t know what has been recalled, he said. CIFOR’s work is one example of how seriously public health groups are taking the need to improve outbreak investigations, Jones said. Others include the EpiReady program, which teaches authorities how to conduct investigations, and various tabletop exercises. David Goldman, assistant administrator in the FSIS office of public health, told CIDRAP News that the 2-day event sparked robust discussions about a range of topics. “What we wanted the presenters to do was be candid about the problems they confront,” he said. The meeting was held in St Louis on May 15 and was followed the next day by a tabletop exercise that simulated a multistate Escherichia coli outbreak involving ground beef. The 2-day event was attended by officials from the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plus state and local public health officials, food industry groups, university researchers, and consumer groups. Goldman said the tabletop exercise afterward was useful because it raised all of the concerns that had been discussed during the meeting. “And people who were unfamiliar with outbreak investigations learned a lot about them. It illuminated the problems and the obstacles,” he said. Some participants shared their frustrations about difficulties in getting information from regulatory agencies and industry. “Some of the information can’t be shared readily due to the laws that regulatory agencies operate under,” Hedberg said. Apr 25 USDA press release on outbreak investigation meeting (Problems in the dissemination of food safety information were the topic of a lengthy report released yesterday by a group called the Food Safety Research Consortium. See May 22 story link below for more information.) Oct 23, 2007, CIDRAP News story “USDA announces plans to reduce E coli contamination in ground beef” Recall messages could be better crafted to reflect more clearly that the recalled product is harmful and should not be consumed, Hedberg said. “The focus should be on the desired behavior of the consumer.” May 23, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Federal agencies that play key food safety roles recently held a public meeting to clarify the obstacles public health officials encounter in investigating foodborne disease outbreaks and to build support for measures to improve the process. Craig Hedberg, PhD, associate professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis, attended the meeting and took part in the tabletop exercise. He said the discussions were useful for charting the patterns that have occurred in outbreak investigations and fleshing out plans for improving them. Jones said CIFOR, now in its third year, has established an online source for questionnaires and outbreak training resources, has developed guidelines for multistate outbreak investigations, and is working on several other initiatives. Hedberg said that though many important issues were raised at the meeting, it’s clear that quick fixes are unrealistic. “Part of it is changing people’s normal work patterns. A lot of it is culture change that has to occur across the system,” he said. “Everyone is in theory committed to better communication and more transparency—the devil is in the details.” The FSIS had announced that it would explore how to improve outbreak investigations last October, as it unveiled measures to address a spike in E coli outbreaks linked to ground beef. See also: Whether a food recall is voluntary or mandatory is largely a technical issue, he said. However, focusing on whether a recall is voluntary or mandatory can lead some of the public to think that the associated outbreak isn’t an important public health problem. Hedberg also said a focus on the role of local officials was a useful outcome of the meeting. “People from local departments describe how they feel left out of larger multistate outbreak investigations, but local agencies are the ones interviewing the cases,” he said. “And sometimes it’s not apparent why the case should be at the top of their priorities.” Other issues that were raised at the meeting, Hedberg said, included the need to improve methods for assessing case-patients’ food exposures and the view of some experts that food recalls, as currently administered, don’t convey an adequate level of warning to consumers. May 22 CIDRAP News story “Experts propose steps to ease food safety info flow” All outbreaks start locallyOne of the major themes that participants emphasized was the important role of local public health officials, Goldman said. “Outbreak investigations can be quite complex, but everything starts locally with one or two cases,” he said. CIFOR Web sitelast_img read more

FAO says H5N1 situation in birds has improved

first_imgAug 11, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The global H5N1 avian influenza situation in birds improved in the first half of this year, but an H5N1 strain not previously seen in Africa recently cropped up in Nigeria, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).”Considering the number of outbreaks reported worldwide, the global HPAI [highly pathogenic avian influenza] situation can be said to have improved markedly in the first half of 2008,” the FAO said in the latest issue of its avian flu bulletin, AIDEnews.However, four countries where H5N1 is endemic—Egypt, China, Indonesia, and Vietnam—continued to report outbreaks during the 6-month period, and the virus re-emerged in Pakistan and in Hong Kong’s live bird markets, the agency noted.In June, 11 H5N1 outbreaks were reported in five countries (China, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam), compared with 65 outbreaks in June 2006 and 55 in June 2007, the FAO said. Europe reported no outbreaks, unlike in June of previous years, and no cases were reported in wild birds.However, Indonesia has not submitted reports on H5N1 events since May, because the new database for the country’s Participatory Disease Surveillance system is being modified, according to the report.”Although there has been an improvement in disease awareness, outbreaks/cases of HPAI are still underestimated and underreported in many countries because of limitations in country disease surveillance systems, which may affect considerably the shape of the distribution of outbreaks by region,” the FAO said.Novel strain in NigeriaIn a statement today about Nigeria, the FAO said recent avian flu outbreaks in the states of Katsina and Kano involved a strain that has never been reported in Africa before but is similar to strains identified in Italy, Afghanistan, and Iran in 2007. The agency did not identify the strain by clade or subclade.Scott Newman, international wildlife coordinator for the FAO’s Animal Health Service, said the discovery is a concern because it is not known how the virus was brought into Africa.”It seems to be unlikely that wild birds have carried the strain to Africa, since the last migration of wild birds from Europe and Central Asia to Africa occurred in September 2007 and this year’s southerly migration into Africa has not really started yet,” Newman said.He said the new strain could have been introduced through international trade or illegal and unreported movement of poultry, adding, “This increases the risk of avian influenza spread to other countries in western Africa.”A team of FAO animal health experts and veterinary epidemiologists is working with the Nigerian government on disease surveillance, outbreak investigations, and the establishment of veterinary drug stockpiles, the agency said.Increased pathogenicity in VietnamIn other developments, the pathogenicity of H5N1 strains circulating in Vietnam seems to be rising, according to another article in the FAO’s AIDEnews.Investigators from the US Department of Agriculture and colleagues from Vietnam’s National Centre for Veterinary Diagnosis said the increase in pathogenicity is manifested by more severe respiratory tract infections in ducks and an increase in cloacal virus levels, according to the article.The higher pathogenicity has been seen in H5N1 viruses circulating in the Red River Basin (clades 2.3.2 and 2.3.4) and the Mekong delta (clade 1), the report says.Jan Slingenbergh of the FAO’s Animal Health Service said that despite the increased pathogenicity, avian flu in Vietnam is generally “fairly well in check,” according to the report. Slingenbergh participated in an avian flu conference in mid June in Hanoi.He reported that avian flu in southern Vietnam is well in check, but that efforts in northern Vietnam need “strengthening with measures other than vaccination, and the cost of vaccination cannot continue to be entirely supported by public funds only,” the article states.See also: Aug 11 FAO statement on H5N1 strain in Nigeriahttp://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000909/index.htmlJul 25 issue of FAO’s AIDEnewshttp://www.fao.org/docs/eims/upload/246457/aj097e00.pdfJul 25 CIDRAP News story “Nigeria finds H5N1 in bird markets”last_img read more