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Low-pathogenic avian flu viruses can infect humans

first_imgSep 13, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – European researchers have reported what they call the first evidence that low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses—not just highly pathogenic (HPAI) strains like H5N1—can infect humans.The finding in a study of Italian poultry workers suggests that avian flu viruses have more chances than previously suspected to mix with human flu viruses, potentially creating hybrids that could trigger a human flu pandemic, according to the report published online by the Journal of Infectious Diseases.The researchers, led by Isabella Donatelli of the Instituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome, took serum samples from 983 workers at several farms in northern Italy from August 1999 until July 2003. Several avian flu outbreaks occurred there during that period, including both LPAI and HPAI strains of H7N1 and an LPAI H7N3 strain. (LPAI viruses cause mild illness and few deaths in poultry, while HPAI viruses cause severe illness with high death rates.)The serum samples were tested for antibodies to the avian viruses. To ensure accuracy, the researchers tested each sample with hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and microneutralization (MN) assays. If either of these came back positive, a Western blot analysis was done.None of the 798 serum samples collected during or after the first four outbreaks tested positive for antibodies to H7N1 or H7N3 viruses. However, 7 of 185 samples (3.8%) taken during an H7N3 outbreak in 2002 and 2003 tested positive for both viruses in the MN assay, and 4 of those 7 tested positive for both viruses in the HI assay. Both tests showed higher titers of antibodies to the H7N3 (LPAI) strain. In the Western blot testing, all seven samples showed clear reactivity, unlike control samples (which had tested negative in the HI and MN assays).All the workers who tested positive had had close contact with turkeys or chickens in dusty poultry houses, the authors report. None of the workers reported any flu-like illness at the time of the avian flu outbreaks, and only one reported symptoms of conjunctivitis, an ailment seen in some Dutch poultry workers during an HPAI outbreak in 2003.”To our knowledge, this is the first serological evidence of transmission of LPAI viruses to humans during an epizootic in domestic poultry,” the report says. It adds that reports of human infections associated with other avian flu outbreaks—in the Netherlands, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Canada—have all involved HPAI strains.The researchers call for “permanent” surveillance for avian flu viruses in both animals and humans to shed more light on how the viruses jump the species barrier.”Our findings highlight the risk of the emergence of a potentially pandemic strain, as a result of reassortment of avian and contemporaneously circulating human strains during outbreaks of AI [avian influenza] caused by LPAI viruses,” they write.The authors also say, according to a Journal of Infectious Diseases news release, that poultry workers should be regularly vaccinated against ordinary flu to reduce the risk of gene-swapping between avian and human flu strains.Puzelli S, Di Trani L, Faviani C, et al. Serolgoical analysis of serum samples from humans exposed to avian H7 influenza viruses in Italy between 1999 and 2003. J Infect Dis 2005 Oct 15;192(8):1318-22 [Full text]See also:Commentary on Puzelli article in same issue of JID [Full text]last_img read more

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Bermuda’s former CARIFTA Games star Sakari Famous lands first collegiate title

first_imgATHENS, Georgia, (CMC) – Bermuda’s former CARIFTA Games star Sakari Famous has secured her maiden collegiate title in the United States and is looking forward to even bigger and better things.The University of Georgia freshman won the women’s high jump with a leap of 1.78 metres on her third and final attempt at the Torrin Lawrence Memorial in Athens at the weekend.“I’m really grateful for my results this past meet,” said Famous, who won six medals during her CARIFTA career.“I wasn’t aware of my position until the very end when they announced my name before I was about to jump, so I was really excited on the inside but had to stay focused on my jump, which secured my position.“It has been a bit of a struggle these past few months, but I can say that I’m slowly but surely improving. I appreciate all of the support and positive encouragement that I have received and looking forward to jumping higher heights in future competitions.”“It was a special moment as it was my first win in a collegiate meet. My focus is more on improving my height, which would put me in a better position to compete in higher level competitions,” added Famous, who missed the chance of final CARIFTA glory as university commitments meant she was unable to join the Bermuda team for this year’s renewal in the Cayman Islands.In her absence, Bermuda won six medals.Bermuda National Athletics Association president Donna Raynor said was delighted Famous has achieved another milestone in her career.“I’ m happy to see that things are falling into place,” Raynor said. “First place at any competition in university is a great result. I look forward to her competing for Bermuda this summer. We are hoping to send her to the University Games in Naples, Italy, and the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.”Bermuda jumping coach Rohaan Simons said Famous’ ability to overcome challenges spoke volumes about her character.“I’m really excited because obviously it’s about the journey and sometimes things don’t go your way,” he said.“It’s going to show what type of person you are; are you going to blame others for your failure or push forward and work harder to improve on the things you need to improve. That’s the stage she’s at now.”last_img read more

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Executives of Africa, Ghana Rugby meet on development of the game in Ghana

first_imgA three-day workshop to promote the sport of rugby in Ghana has ended on January 20, 2016.The workshop hosted by the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) had representatives of the executive members of Africa Rugby in attendance.The workshop was at the behest of  the President of GRFU, Mr. Herbert Mensah to discuss ways of improving the sport in Ghana and to ensure that the country becomes a full member of World Rugby.Representatives of Africa Rugby at the workshop included Mr. Charles Yapo, Regional Development Officer – West of Africa Rugby, Mr. Marcellin Zahui, the Treasurer of Africa Rugby and Mr. David Baird-Smith, a temporary Junior Consultant of Africa Rugby.Mr. Marcellin Zahui, Treasurer of Africa Rugby, said the visit to Ghana is part of efforts to assess the good governance structures without which the sport will not be properly developed in the country.In line with that, the Herbert Mensah led GRFU had to present its managerial as well as financial structures to the Africa Rugby representatives for thorough scrutiny. There was also the general inspection of facilities and resources for the sport of rugby in Ghana. Similar exercises will be done in the Togo Benin and Cote d’Ivoire rugby associations as well in order to put the right systems in place in all the countries.Explaining the circumstances under which an association can become a member of the Africa Rugby Association, Mr. Zahui emphasized good governance practices are non-negotiable.He commended the management of the GRFU for the work they have done and expressed gratitude to the President, Mr. Herbert Mensah, for putting up good managerial structures.The treasurer cited training fields, good referees and competent management as the major challenges facing Africa Rugby.“Now rugby in Africa has reached a higher level and therefore to be part of Africa Rugby you need to have competent management that can handle affairs of your union. That is the main reason we are in Ghana to see if they meet our requirements as part of the four countries Africa Rugby selected to become Full Members of World Rugby. I’m very happy with what I’ve seen after my observation and I applaud the management of the GRFU for their good work.” he said. Mr. Herbert Mensah also had discussions recently with the President of Africa Rugby, Mr. Abdelaziz Bougja, and the Rugby Services Manager (Africa) of World Rugby, Mr. Jean-Luc Barthes, about the upgrading of Ghana Rugby to Full Member of World Rugby in order to further speed up the development of Rugby in Ghana.Mr. Charles Yapo, Regional Development Officer – West of Africa Rugby said that their mission is to help develop Rugby in Ghana especially at the grassroots level through the “Get Into Rugby” (GIR) youth development programme, Women’s Rugby and training for coaches and referees.“If Rugby becomes popular it is easier to attract more players and with that the quality of Rugby will improve.” he said.Speaking to the press, Mr. Steve Noi, the Tournament Commissioner of the GRFU  expressed gratitude to Africa Rugby for responding to the GRFU’s call for support in order to improve and speed up the development of Rugby in Ghana.Mr. Noi said the meeting will hopefully bring more recognition to the GRFU at the international level.   The Africa Rugby delegation that visited the Ghana Rugby Football Union to discuss matters of development and best practice management (from left to right) Mr. David Baird-Smith (AR temporary Junior Consultant), Mr. Marcellin Zahui (AR Treasurer) with Mr. Abdul-Aziz Issah (Secretary General of the GRFU). The Africa Rugby (AR) delegation that visited Ghana to discuss matters related to Rugby development and best practice governance with the Ghana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) in the GRFU Secretariat with (from left to right) Mr. Marcellin Zahui, (Treasurer of AR), Mr. David Baird-Smith (AR temporary Junior Consultant), Mr. Steve Noi, (Tournament Commissioner of the GRFU), Mr. Charles Yapo (AR Regional Development Manager – West) and Mr. Abdul-Aziz Issah (Secretary General of the GRFU).  The Africa Rugby delegation also visited the facilities at the Ghana Rugby Football Union including a fully equipped gymnasium.last_img read more

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