20 Nov

Covid: Ends of the earth love story that defied pandemic

first_imgA man is moving across the world to live with someone he hasn’t seen in nearly a decade.Rosanna Wilson and Andrew Monck first met in 2011, but have got in contact again during the pandemic.- Advertisement – Andrew lives in Australia, but after being granted an exemption to leave the country permanently, is travelling more than 9,300 miles (15,000km) to join Rosanna in Devon. – Advertisement –last_img

20 Nov

The Masters: Joaquin Niemann out after positive coronavirus test | Golf News

first_imgChile’s Joaquin Niemann will miss The Masters at Augusta National from November 12-15 due to positive Covid-19 test. Watch the final men’s major of the year live on Sky Sports’ dedicated Masters channel. By Ali StaffordLast Updated: 06/11/20 9:37pm Joaquin Niemann will miss The Masters after a positive coronavirus test Joaquin Niemann will miss The Masters after a positive coronavirus test
Joaquin Niemann will miss The Masters after a positive coronavirus test

20 Nov

Biden names Ron Klain, a decades-long confidant, as his chief of staff.

first_img“His deep, varied experience and capacity to work with people all across the political spectrum is precisely what I need in a White House chief of staff as we confront this moment of crisis and bring our country together again,” Mr. Biden said.- Advertisement – WILMINGTON, Del. — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. named Ron Klain, a veteran Democratic operative and a decades-long confidant, to be his White House chief of staff on Wednesday, the first step toward putting in place his administration’s senior leadership.Mr. Klain, a lawyer with deep experience on Capitol Hill, advising President Barack Obama and in corporate board rooms, served as Mr. Biden’s chief of staff when he was vice president and has been seen for months as the most likely choice to manage his team in the White House. Known for steady nerves, he also has a fierce wit, which he has frequently unleashed on President Trump on Twitter.- Advertisement – Advisers have said that Mr. Biden will announce other top White House staff members in the coming days, even as Mr. Trump refuses to accept the results of the election, tweeting “WE WILL WIN!” on Wednesday evening. – Advertisement – He was particularly critical of Mr. Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, having served as the “Ebola czar” under Mr. Obama during an outbreak of the deadly disease in 2014. A video of Mr. Klain lecturing Mr. Trump about the pandemic was widely viewed during the campaign.In a statement, Mr. Biden called Mr. Klain an “invaluable” adviser, noting in particular the work they did together during the economic crisis in 2009 and the Ebola outbreak. Mr. Klain has gone in and out of government over the past several decades, at times practicing as a lawyer and later working with Steve Case, the founder of AOL, in a venture capital investment firm called Revolution.Mr. Klain thanked his well-wishers in a tweet on Wednesday night, saying that he was “honored by the President-elect’s confidence” and that he would “give my all to lead a talented and diverse team in a Biden-Harris” White House.The choice of Mr. Klain, 59, who first went to work for Mr. Biden in the late 1980s when Mr. Biden was a senator from Delaware and Mr. Klain was a recent graduate of Harvard Law School, signals that the president-elect intends to rely on a tight circle of Washington insiders who have been by his side for years.- Advertisement – Mr. Biden is not likely to reveal his cabinet picks until around Thanksgiving, several people close to the transition said.last_img read more

20 Nov

Paul LePage is back for more

first_imgThe Herald also said that Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who is the only Democrat in statewide office, and state Sen. Jason Pizzo are both “known to be” considering a run at DeSantis. Pizzo released a statement that did not address the contest directly, but said of the 2020 cycle, “I’ve seen a lot of finger-pointing, a lot of changes people want made, a lot of calling-out culture going on, but no definitive plan on the rebuild and reconstruction yet.” One politico who has said no, though, is wealthy left-leaning attorney John Morgan, who talked about running as an independent in 2018 but stayed out of the race.  The Herald adds that state Sen. Lauren Book and Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber have been mentioned as “wildcards” for either race, though there’s no word yet if either is interested.Finally there’s Rep. Charlie Crist, whose decision to run commercials in the days after he was re-elected has observers wondering if the former Republican governor is interested in another statewide run. The Democratic congressman didn’t address the speculation directly, saying instead of his ads thanking voters for re-electing him, “I know there’s skeptics in this business and some people see what they want to see. What I’m trying to do is let the people know that I’m grateful to them and I believe our government should be of the people by the people and for the people.”● OH-Sen, OH-Gov: Ohio has become tough turf for Democrats over the last few years (Joe Biden is the first presidential nominee to win the White House without the Buckeye State’s electoral votes since JFK in 1960), but several politicians are considering bids against either Sen. Rob Portman or Gov. Mike DeWine.About a week before the election, Buzzfeed mentioned Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval, who was the party’s 2018 nominee against Rep. Steve Chabot, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley as possible Senate contenders. Pureval, who would go on to be decisively re-elected, only said at the time, “This isn’t about me, or about politics, or about who’s going to run for something two years from now … This is really about holding Rob Portman accountable for the decisions he makes.”Whaley, for her part, told the Columbus Dispatch days after the election that she wasn’t ruling out a run for either Senate or governor, though she added, “I’m trying to figure out where I can best serve. … Frankly, that might be to stay as mayor of Dayton.” Whaley ran for governor in 2017 but she dropped out early the next year and endorsed the party’s eventual nominee, Richard Cordray.The paper also mentions Rep. Tim Ryan, who has spent over a decade talking about running for statewide office but never going for it, as a possible Senate contender. Ryan’s calculations may be different this cycle, though, if Republicans leave him with a hostile seat in redistricting.Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, who cannot seek re-election next year because of term limits, has spent months talking about running against DeWine. Cranley said in February, “I am exploring a run for governor because Ohio is falling behind and must do better,” and he’s continued to be mentioned as a possible candidate since then.Gubernatorial● CA-Gov: Back in September, 2018 GOP nominee John Cox set up an exploratory committee for a potential rematch with Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom. Cox lost 62-38 two years ago, though, and he’s unlikely to be the top choice of many Republican leaders.San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who will leave office next month, is always getting touted as a possible Republican candidate, and this year is no different. Faulconer spent months in 2017 sending confusing signals about his interest in the past before ultimately not running, and he hasn’t said anything publicly about a 2022 run.● CT-Gov: House Minority Leader Themis Klarides decided not to seek re-election this year, but the CT Post writes that she “hasn’t denied rumors” that she’s interested in seeking the Republican nod to challenge Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont.Sacred Heart University political science professor Gary Rose also mentioned two businessmen who ran in 2018, Bob Stefanowski and David Stemerman, as possible GOP contenders, though there’s no word yet from either of them. Stefanowski (who still tweets from his “@bobforgovernor” account), beat Stemerman in a five-way primary before losing to Lamont 49-46.● GA-Gov: The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that allies of 2018 Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, who narrowly lost a flawed election run by her Republican opponent, say that they expect her to seek a rematch with Gov. Brian Kemp. Abrams’ spokesperson said in response, “Leader Abrams has made no decisions about her political future and is solely focused on electing Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock on January 5.”● HI-Gov: Gov. David Ige will be termed out in 2022, and at least two fellow Democrats have been laying the groundwork to succeed him for a while.Neither Lt. Gov. Josh Green nor outgoing Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who is himself leaving office early next year due to term limits, have announced they’re in, but each man expressed interest last year. Both of them also filed paperwork in 2019 to raise money to benefit a possible gubernatorial bid, with Caldwell holding a virtual fundraiser just last month.There are also numerous other Democrats in this very blue state who could be interested. Former state Sen. Jill Tokuda, who lost the 2018 primary for lieutenant governor to Green by a narrow 31-29, said in August of 2019, “I am still very much dedicated to public service, and I am exploring all possible options, including looking at governor in 2022.”● MD-Gov: Republican Gov. Larry Hogan cannot seek a third term, and Democrats are hoping to retake the top job in this blue state in 2022.The Democratic primary kicked off all the way back in January when state Comptroller Peter Franchot announced. However, Maryland Matters’ Josh Kurtz wrote last month that he wasn’t sure if Franchot would proceed following the surprise departure of Len Foxwell, the comptroller’s longtime “political brain.”Rep. Anthony Brown, who lost to Hogan in a 2014 upset, said back in June that he was considering another try. Former U.S. Secretary of Education John King also recently attracted attention when he launched a well-funded state progressive group, and he acknowledged in October that he wasn’t ruling out running.Former state Attorney General Doug Gansler, who badly lost the 2014 primary to Brown, didn’t rule it out a second run back in August, while Kurtz wrote at the time that wealthy Rep. David Trone “has kept in touch with a variety of party activists, his exploration has undeniably been limited in recent months by the pandemic.” Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks has been getting a lot of chatter as a possible candidate as well, though Kurtz wrote over the summer that she and Brown are unlikely to run against each other.The list of potential Republican candidates is shorter. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, who was Hogan’s running mate for both his campaigns, acknowledged in July of 2019 that he was thinking about running to succeed his boss, and he continues to get mentioned as a possible GOP candidate.Harford County Executive Barry Glassman also said in August that he’d think about running for governor, as well as comptroller or Congress, depending on what happened with redistricting. State Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz also has been name-dropped as a potential contender.● NE-Gov: On Tuesday, wealthy agribusinessman Charles Herbster filed paperwork to seek the GOP nod, though he told the Lincoln Journal Star‘s Don Walton that he wouldn’t be talking about his intentions for this open seat race that week. Walton writes that Herbster, who chaired Donald Trump’s agriculture and rural advisory committee, is also close with former Gov. Dave Heineman.Herbster also entered the race to succeed Heineman in 2013, but he announced six weeks later that he was dropping out because of his wife’s health. Herbster ended up donating an eye-popping $860,000 to a fellow candidate, state Sen. Beau McCoy, who finished third in the following year’s primary against now-Gov. Pete Ricketts.● OR-Gov: Democratic Gov. Kate Brown is termed-out in 2022 in an office that her party has held since the 1986 elections. One fellow Democrat who has already gotten some attention as a possible contender is state Treasurer Tobias Read, who was re-elected 53-41 this month. Reed’s Republican opponent, Jeff Gudman, accused him during that campaign of wanting to use the treasurer’s post as a springboard for higher office; Reed said in response, “There’s so many things in the world that I can’t rule out and can’t control. … I don’t want to make promises.”● RI-Gov: Gov. Gina Raimondo cannot seek a third term in 2022, and there are a number of fellow Democrats who may run to succeed her.Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, who is also termed out in two years as leader of the state’s largest city, expressed interest last year in a gubernatorial bid. Elorza recently switched fundraising teams, and his outgoing consultant explained, “Mayor Elorza wanted a full-time finance director as he continues to evaluate his plans for the future.” The Boston Globe’s Dan McGowan also wrote that three other term-limited Democrats, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, state Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and Lt. Gov. Dan McKee, are each “expected” to run for the top job.The GOP bench is far smaller, though we may hear again from a familiar name. Allan Fung, who will leave office as mayor of Cranston mayor early next month, doesn’t appear to have said anything publicly about another run, but WPRI’s Ned Nesi wrote that his party’s success in this month’s mayoral contest could help him “make a case to fellow Republicans that he deserves a third swing at the governor’s office in 2022.” Fung lost the 2014 open seat race to Raimondo only 41-36 with the late Moderate Party candidate Robert Healey taking 21%, but she won their 2018 rematch by a wide 53-37 margin.● WI-Gov, WI-Sen: Democratic Gov. Tony Evers unseated Republican Scott Walker in a tight 2018 contest, and he’s likely to be a top GOP target in 2022.Walker himself said last year that he wouldn’t seek a rematch, though he’s touted his old running mate, former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, as a strong potential candidate. Kleefisch herself said in January that she was thinking about another run for office, and the Wisconsin State Journal wrote last month that she was “almost certain to launch a 2022 bid for governor.”Another big name who has gotten some buzz is Sen. Ron Johnson, who is also up for re-election in two years. Johnson said in May of last year that he wasn’t ruling out a bid for either governor or the Senate, though he doesn’t appear to have said anything about a possible run against Evers since then. When Johnson was asked in October about 2022 he said, “I haven’t made the decision whether I’m going to run or not so right now I’m not worrying about anybody else announcing.”Businessman Kevin Nicholson, though, said last month, “I’ll be running for U.S. Senate or for governor in 2022,” but not against Johnson. Nicholson said he’d run for the Senate if RoJo didn’t, in which case he’d take on Evers. Nicholson ran for the state’s other Senate seat in 2018 and benefiting from over $10 million in spending from groups supported by billionaire megadonor Richard Uihlein. Nicholson, though, had trouble explaining away his long history as a Democrat, and he lost the primary to state Sen. Leah Vukmir 49-43; Vukmir went on to lose that fall to Democratic incumbent Tammy Baldwin.Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow also said last month that he was thinking about a gubernatorial run. State Sen. Chris Kapenga also expressed interest in November of 2019, and his colleagues just picked him to be the new Senate president.Called Races● NY-24: Republican Rep. John Katko secured a fourth term after Democrat Dana Balter conceded on Friday.● CA State Senate: While California Democrats have lost at least one of the Orange County congressional districts they flipped in 2018, Team Blue ousted two Republican state senators representing this ancestrally red county. Those wins give Democrats at least 31 of the 40 seats in the upper chamber, with Republicans holding small leads in two others; if Democrats pull ahead in one additional race, they’d equal the party’s all-time high that was set in1883.One of Team Blue’s two pickups came in Senate District 29, where Democrat Josh Newman beat Republican incumbent Ling Ling Chang 51-49 two years after the GOP successfully recalled him from office. Newman had defeated Chang in a tight 2016 contest to represent this seat, which includes Fullerton and Yorba Linda in Orange County and small portions of Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. Republicans, though, quickly launched a campaign to oust him after he provided the crucial vote for a gas-tax increase in order to fund a $52 billion transportation plan.In June of 2018, voters recalled Newman by a 58-42 margin, and they chose Chang as his replacement for the remaining two-and-a-half years of his term. That development briefly cost Democrats the two-thirds majority in the Senate that they needed to pass tax increases and put constitutional amendments on the ballot without Republicans support, but they regained their supermajority that fall. Newman also soon launched a campaign to regain the seat from Chang, which he did on Nov. 3.Elsewhere in Orange County, Democrat Dave Min defeated Republican state Sen. John Moorlach 51-49 to flip Senate District 37, which is home to Irvine as well as most of Huntington Beach and the city of Orange. This seat has been safely red turf for decades, and Democrats didn’t even have a candidate on the ballot in the 2015 special election that Moorlach ultimately won; Moorlach prevailed 57-43 the following year even as Hillary Clinton was carrying his seat 50-44.But Min, who narrowly lost the 2018 top-two primary for the 45th Congressional District to now-Rep. Katie Porter, proved to be a tough opponent, and he decisively outraised Moorlach on his way to a close victory.● CA Ballot: The Associated Press called a win on Friday for Proposition 14, which will issue a stem cell research bond; the measure passed 51-49. LePage not only angrily declared in response to the outcry that he was not a racist, he, in the words of the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips, “appeared to threaten a state lawmaker’s life for making that charge (even though the lawmaker denied making the charge to begin with).” Public records were later released that showed that most drug arrests in Maine involved white suspects.LePage moved to Florida and registered to vote there the day he left office in January of 2019, saying, “I’m going to retire and go to Florida. I’m done with politics. I’ve done my eight years. It’s time for somebody else.” That hiatus didn’t last long, though, and LePage soon began talking about going back to Maine and challenging Mills.The former governor returned to the Pine Tree State this year, and he’s spent the last several months attacking Mills’ efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic. In May, LePage led a protest against Mills’ emergency measures, and he called her a “dictator” in his Friday interview.Senate- Advertisement – ● FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Florida Democrats just emerged from a dispiriting election cycle, but they’re hoping to turn things around in 2022 by taking down Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Ron DeSantis. There are plenty of potential candidates for either office, though there’s no early primary frontrunner yet at this early stage.The Miami Herald recently wrote that Reps. Ted Deutch, Val Demings, and Stephanie Murphy have been mentioned as possible Rubio opponents. Deutch put out a statement in response where he only talked about his work in the House and did not allude to the Senate race, so he’s not saying no. Murphy’s team also did not mention Rubio in their answer, though they mentioned that as “an immigrant and refugee who fled communism, she is deeply concerned about the future of the Democratic Party in Florida and plans to spend the next few months helping the party build a winning statewide strategy for the future.”A few potential gubernatorial candidates have been more direct, though no one has committed to anything. Former Rep. Gwen Graham, who narrowly lost the 2018 primary to then-Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, told the Orlando Sentinel this month that she was still deciding if she’d try again. State Rep. Anna Eskamani, whom the paper called “one of the faces of the party’s younger, progressive wing,” also said she was interested in the top job.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Campaign ActionLePage spent eight years leading an ardently conservative administration in this Democratic-leaning state, but he was best known for his many racist and misogynistic pronouncements. Among many other things, the governor claimed in 2016 that the state’s opioid epidemic was caused by “[t]hese are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty. … They come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, then they go back home.” LePage continued, “Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we’ve got to deal with down the road.”- Advertisement –last_img read more

18 Nov

Indonesia says 2 more avian flu cases confirmed

first_imgDec 22, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Indonesia’s human death toll from H5N1 avian influenza rose to 11 today with the report that tests have confirmed that a man and a boy who died last week had the virus.Samples from a 39-year-old man and an 8-year-old boy tested positive at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Hariyadi Wibisono of the Indonesian health ministry, as quoted by Agence France-Presse (AFP) today. The CDC tests confirmed earlier test results in Indonesia.Their cases are the 15th and 16th reported as confirmed in Indonesia. The World Health Organization (WHO) had not yet included the cases in its online tally at this writing. The WHO’s overall count currently stands at 139 cases with 71 deaths in the past 2 years.The two victims lived in different sections of Jakarta, according to a Bloomberg News report today. The man died Dec 13, and the boy died Dec 15, according to AFP.The Bloomberg report said the man had had no known contact with sick birds before he died, while the boy lived not far from a market where pet birds are sold.The story said community groups, soldiers, and student volunteers began a door-to-door campaign in Jakarta today to find and destroy sick birds in houses and backyards.last_img read more

18 Nov

Hantavirus cases in 5 states may signal active year

first_img The number of cases reported in January through March matches the pace recorded in 1994 and 1999—both years of high HPS case counts. In both those years, the preceding 1 to 2 years brought environmental conditions that favored a large rodent population, including increased rainfall and plant cover. The larger rodent population, according to the CDC, increased transmission of hantavirus among rodents, which heightened the risk for people. HPS typically begins with a headache, myalgia, and a fever above 101°F, followed shortly by bilateral, diffuse lung edema that can resemble acute respiratory distress syndrome radiographically. Most cases occur in the spring and summer, according to the report, but this seasonal pattern varies by location. Jun 13, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Nine human cases of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) in five states were reported from January through March of 2006, which could signal an above-average risk of the disease this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Editor’s note: A correction was made in this story on Jul 11 (2006) to eliminate errors concerning the numbers of hantavirus cases in Arizona and New Mexico since 1993. Cleaning up potential food sources and nesting sites See also: People contract HPS through contact with the saliva or droppings of rodents, most commonly the deer mouse. The disease is characterized by fever and severe pulmonary symptoms and is fatal 30% to 40% of the time, the report says (the CDC doesn’t say how many of the cases early this year were fatal). The culprit is most often the Sin Nombre virus. Sealing up holes around the home to prevent rodents from entering Taking precautions when cleaning rodent feces or nest sitescenter_img CDC has initiated a “Seal Up! Trap Up! Clean Up!” campaign (see link below) to limit exposure to HPS and other rodent-borne diseases. Measures to prevent HPS include: Trapping rodents in the home to curb the population The report also says that survival probability increases with early disease detection, so healthcare professionals should become familiar with HPS’s presentation. The only treatment, according to the CDC, is supportive care. Since the virus was identified in 1993, the CDC (as of May 10) has confirmed 438 HPS cases in the United States, 35% of which have been fatal. Most cases have occurred in states west of the Mississippi River, with New Mexico (68 cases since 1993), Colorado (49), Arizona (46), and California (43) outpacing other states. As noted in the Jun 9 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, HPS was reported early this year in Arizona (3 cases), New Mexico (3), Texas (1), North Dakota (1), and Washington state (1). The CDC says people should take precautions against the often deadly disease. CDC. Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome—five states, 2006. MMWR 2006 Jun 9;55(22):627-8 [Full text] CDC’s “Seal Up! Trap Up! Clean Up!” campaignhttp://www.cdc.gov/rodentslast_img read more

18 Nov

Studies support flu vaccination in children, adults

first_imgDec 14, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Two studies reported in today’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine provide additional support for seasonal influenza immunization while shedding some light on questions about vaccination strategies and the efficacy of the vaccines.Both studies were conducted in the 2004-05 flu season, when the vaccine was not optimally matched to the circulating virus strains. One study suggested that school-based flu vaccination programs in four states reduced flu-like illnesses in schoolchildren’s households. The other indicated that inactivated flu vaccine showed good effectiveness in adults despite the imperfect match with circulating viruses.Multistate school-based studyIn the school-based study, researchers grouped 28 elementary schools from 4 states into 11 demographically similar clusters, each of which included one intervention school that offered the vaccine plus 1or 2 schools that served as controls.In the intervention schools the intranasal formulation of the live attenuated influenza vaccine (FluMist) was offered free of charge at school to all healthy children age 5 or older during the fall of 2004. The study was supported by MedImmune, maker of FluMist.Researchers sent questionnaires to the intervention and control groups’ homes after the predicted week of peak flu activity for each state, asking families about flu-like symptoms, medical visits, medications, and absences from school and work.At the intervention schools, 2,717 (47%) of 5,840 students received the vaccine. Ninety-five percent of 1,535 children who were eligible to receive a second dose received it. The average age of the vaccinated students was 7.9 years (range, 5 to 14).Researchers predicted the peak influenza week correctly at two sites and were within 2 to 4 weeks at the remaining sites.The results revealed that intervention-school households reported fewer flu-like symptoms during the peak illness week than control-school households. The use of medications and humidifiers was lower in the intervention households.The number of visits to doctors or medical clinics was also lower, but the two groups did not differ in the rate of emergency department visits. Hospitalization rates in the intervention-school households were significantly higher, however.School absenteeism rates in the peak flu activity week were significantly lower for elementary and high school students in the intervention schools, though not for middle school students. At intervention schools, unvaccinated students had higher absenteeism rates than their vaccinated counterparts. Also, parents of children in the intervention schools reported fewer work days missed because of flu-like illness.Safety results in this study were consistent with previous results with the live attenuated vaccine, the authors noted. Four serious events were noted in four students within 42 days after receiving the vaccine. Only one was judged to be possibly related to the vaccine. None of the students were hospitalized, and all events resolved completely.The authors concluded that the study shows the benefits of a population intervention. “Even though fewer than half of the children were vaccinated, important benefits were observed,” they write.Kristine Moore, MD, MPH, a coauthor of the study, said, “We’ve known from a number of studies that children are one of the main amplifiers for influenza.” She said the study shows that vaccinating children in schools can dampen the amplification process by reducing flu-like illness in their households.The researchers found that the intranasal vaccine was simple to administer in the schools, said Moore, who is medical director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of the CIDRAP Web site. “This wasn’t a feasibility study, but it showed that school based vaccination can work,” she said.Moore said the study findings add to ongoing public health discussions about vaccination strategies, which are complex and range from targeting high-risk populations to universal vaccination.In an accompanying editorial, two flu vaccine experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), Keiji Fukuda and Marie Paule Kieny, comment, “The findings strongly suggest, but do not conclusively demonstrate, that the vaccination of these children reduced the spread of influenza to their households and to other student populations.”Michigan study of vaccine effectivenessIn the second study, authors hoped to answer questions about how current vaccines perform when circulating virus strains differ from the strains used in the vaccine. The study group included 1,247 healthy adult Michigan residents. Participants were randomly assigned to receive the inactivated vaccine or a placebo by intramuscular injection or the live attenuated vaccine or a placebo by intranasal spray between October and December 2004.Researchers monitored subjects by phone or e-mail until April 2005, instructing them to contact the study staff whenever they had an illness with at least two respiratory or systemic signs or symptoms. Throat swabs were collected from participants during the surveillance period to identify flu cases and define the period of flu activity. Serum samples of patients with symptoms were also collected and tested against the circulating viruses. Flu cases were identified by three methods: cell culture, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and serologic (antibody) studies.As the flu season progressed, researchers found that the type A(H3N2) virus had drifted from the strain included in seasonal vaccines and that an unanticipated strain of type B virus was circulating, in addition to the one included in the vaccines.The authors found that the absolute efficacy of the inactivated vaccine against both types of virus was 77% on the basis of cell-culture confirmation of cases, 75% on the basis of cell culture or real-time PCR case confirmation, and 67% with cell-culture or serologic confirmation of cases. Using the same assessment measures, the absolute efficacy values for the live attenuated vaccine were 57%, 48%, and 30%, respectively.The researchers say the efficacy differences between the two vaccines appeared to be related to reduced effectiveness of the live attenuated vaccine against type B viruses.Four serious adverse events occurred among the participants within 30 days of receiving the virus, but only one was considered possibly linked to the vaccine.The performance of the inactivated vaccine was surprising, the researchers write. “This result was somewhat unexpected, given problems reported in past years when antigenically drifted viruses were circulating,” they state, adding that the consistent results of all of the confirmation methods were reassuring.Also unexpected were the indications of reduced efficacy of the live attenuated vaccine, they write, because previous studies showed it to be effective in years when drifted strains circulated.Using antibody titers to confirm infection with influenza may overestimate the efficacy of the inactivated vaccine and underestimate the efficacy of the live attenuated vaccine, the authors propose. They observe that live attenuated vaccines have shown efficacy in children, even against drifted strains, but in adults the live vaccine may not provoke an adequate response because of past influenza infections.Even if the intranasal vaccine is less effective in adults, the authors write that it would still be useful as the United States moves toward universal vaccination strategies.”The live attenuated vaccine could also be useful in a pandemic, given that the population would have no preexisting antibodies for the virus, and one dose of the vaccine would be expected to protect against it,” they write.Fukuda and Kieny, in their editorial, say the findings indicate that the two types of vaccines confer similar protection against influenza A in healthy adults, but more research is needed to determine if the vaccines are similarly effective in other age-groups and to assess the effectiveness of the live vaccine against influenza B.The WHO experts note that some observers question whether the substantial efforts to produce and deliver flu vaccine each year are justified. “The answer is, unambiguously, yes,” they write. “Indeed, the critical public health question is not whether influenza vaccines should be used, but how they can be used to advantage.”King JC, Stoddard JJ, Gaglani MJ, et al. Effectiveness of school-based influenza vaccination. N Engl J Med 2006;355(24):2523-32 [Full text]Ohmit SE, Victor JC, Rotthoff JR, et al. Prevention of antigenically drifted influenza by inactivated and live attenuated vaccines. N Engl J Med 2006;355(24):2513-22 [Full text]Fukuda K, Kieny MP. Different approaches to influenza vaccination. (Editorial) N Engl J Med 2006;355(24):2586-7 [Full text]last_img read more

18 Nov

Avian flu crops up in Europe again

first_imgJan 24, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Hungary today announced an H5N1 avian influenza outbreak at a goose farm, signaling the first appearance of the disease in Europe this winter.A European Union (EU) statement said Hungarian authorities notified the EU of an H5N1 avian flu outbreak in Csongrad County in southeastern Hungary, Reuters reported today. The EU said veterinarians tested some geese after several deaths were reported in a 3,000-bird flock; the remaining geese were culled.Hungarian veterinary officials told Bloomberg News today they will send samples tomorrow to an EU lab in the United Kingdom to confirm the results.Appearing on public television today, chief veterinarian Miklos Suth said a surveillance zone was set up around the farm, which is in an isolated location, making spread of the disease unlikely, Bloomberg reported.Hungary’s first H5N1 outbreaks involved a handful of mute swans in Bács-Kiskun County in the south-central region in April 2006, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The following June, the disease was detected on several goose farms in the same county.Twenty-six nations in Europe reported their first H5N1 outbreaks in wild birds or poultry in late 2005 and early 2006, according to Bloomberg. The last previous outbreak in Europe occurred in Germany last August, according to information published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).See also:OIE animal health databasehttp://www.oie.int/wahid-prod/public.php?page=homeNov 22, 2006, FAO avian flu bulletin with chart of H5N1 outbreaks by countryhttp://www.fao.org/docs/eims/upload/217700/aidenews_nov06_no44.pdflast_img read more

18 Nov

Indonesia reports H5N1 case; Vietnam cites probable one

first_imgMay 23, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Indonesia announced today that a 5-year-old girl died of H5N1 avian influenza, while a hospital official in Vietnam reported that a 30-year-old man is being treated for the disease, apparently marking the country’s first human case in a year and a half.Joko Suyono of the Indonesian health ministry’s avian flu center said the young girl died on May 17, according to a Xinhua news report today. She was taken to a doctor on May 8 and was hospitalized May 15 in Solo, Central Java, the report said.The girl reportedly had contact with infected birds, health ministry official Muhammad Nadhirin told the Associated Press (AP) today. About 20 birds had recently died near her home, the AP report said.If her case is confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO), she will be listed as Indonesia’s 97th case-patient and 77th fatality. Indonesia leads the world in the number of human H5N1 cases and deaths.The WHO announced May 16 that it would accept H5N1 test results from Indonesia’s newly accredited national laboratory. Before that, the agency had refused to confirm any cases reported by Indonesia since late January, because the country had stopped sending viruses to WHO collaborating labs in December.Meanwhile, a 30-year-old man from Vietnam’s northern province of Vinh Phuc, about 35 miles from Hanoi, tested positive for H5N1 infection at a Hanoi hospital, where he continues to be treated, the AP reported today. Tran Quy, director of Bach Mai hospital, told the AP the man tested positive 3 days ago.Samples from the patient will be shipped to a WHO lab for analysis, said Hans Troedsson, a WHO official in Vietnam, according to a Canadian Press (CP) report today. Vietnam’s hasn’t had a human H5N1 case since November 2005, but Troedsson said the case is “not really a surprise,” given the known risk of H5N1 transmission from birds to humans.Quy told the AP, “The man is in a critical condition. He has a high fever, difficulty breathing, coughing, and the x-ray of his lung was completely white. All of these are typical bird flu symptoms.”The man was hospitalized last week; relatives reported he fell ill after helping prepare chickens for a wedding reception.If his infection is confirmed, it will be the country’s 94th case. With 93 confirmed cases and 42 deaths, Vietnam has the world’s second highest H5N1 toll.Vietnam had a lull in human cases and poultry outbreaks through most of 2006, during which the country was praised for its H5N1 virus control efforts. The virus resurfaced among ducks in several central Mekong Delta and central provinces in December and January. In early May the country began reporting a new rash of poultry outbreaks throughout the country.last_img read more