Avian flu likely cause of death in Vietnam

first_imgSep 1, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – A 58-year-old Vietnamese has died of a probable case of avian influenza, the first such fatality in a month, news services reported today.The victim, a Hanoi resident who was not named, died Aug 24 and tested positive for an H5 virus, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report quoting Nguyen Tran Hien, director of an epidemiology institute in Hanoi.Hien said further tests are needed to ascertain if the virus was H5N1. But Peter Horby, a World Health Organization epidemiologist in Hanoi, told AFP the virus was almost certainly H5N1, because that’s the only H5 strain known to be circulating in Vietnam.If confirmed, the case will mean Asia has had 121 cases with 63 deaths since late 2003, including 96 cases with 44 deaths in Vietnam, according to CIDRAP’s unofficial count. The WHO’s current official count is 112 cases with 57 deaths.The last human death attributed to avian flu in Vietnam occurred Jul 31 in Ho Chi Minh City, according to AFP.FAO issues warningIn other developments, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned yesterday that wild waterfowl are likely to carry H5N1 avian flu to the Middle East, Europe, South Asia, and Africa. The warning followed detection of the virus in Siberian Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia in recent weeks.”Birds flying from Siberia, where the H5N1 virus has been recently detected, may carry the virus to the Caspian and Black Sea in the foreseeable future,” the FAO said. “These regions and countries in the Balkans could become a potential gateway to central Europe for the virus.””FAO is concerned that poor countries in southeast Europe, where wild birds from Asia mingle with others from northern Europe, may lack the capacity to detect and deal with outbreaks of bird flu,” said Joseph Domenech, FAO’s chief veterinary officer.Bird migration routes also cross Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Georgia, Ukraine, and some Mediterranean countries, where avian flu outbreaks are possible, the agency said. Also at risk are India and Bangladesh, which have large numbers of domestic ducks and lie along a major migration route.The FAO warning echoed concerns raised by researchers in two scientific journal reports early in July. Scientists who studied the outbreak of H5N1 avian flu at Qinghai Lake wildlife refuge in north-central China suggested that birds that visit the refuge could spread the virus to Europe, India, Siberia, Australia, and New Zealand. About 6,000 wild birds died of the disease at the refuge in late spring.However, European veterinary experts who met in Brussels last week saw little immediate risk that the virus would spread to Europe. They said it was not clear to what extent wild birds were responsible for the recent expansion of the virus’s range.Agency cites northwestward spreadThe FAO statement cited the Qinghai Lake outbreak and recent outbreaks in Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Tibet. Domenech said, “These new outbreaks show that the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus is spreading progressively northwestwards and is not restricted to South East Asia any more. In Russia and Kazakhstan, we believe contact between domestic poultry and wild waterfowl at lakes and wetlands is the primary source of infection in poultry.”The agency urged countries at risk to increase surveillance of poultry and wild birds and to prepare national emergency plans. It said close contact between humans, poultry, and wildlife should be reduced and closely monitored and that domestic birds should be separated from wildlife as much as possible.The statement also referred to the avian flu control strategy recently developed by the FAO and the World Organization for Animal health (OIE). So far, donors have pledged about $25 million to support the plan, which is expected to cost more than $100 million, the FAO said.Two days ago, the OIE appealed for funds to help affected countries control avian flu in poultry populations.See also:Aug 31 FAO statementhttp://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2005/107405/index.htmlJul 6, 2005, CIDRAP News story “Wild birds could spread H5N1 virus beyond Asia, reports say”last_img read more

FDA OKs using viruses to fight Listeria in meat

first_imgAug 22, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – US health officials broke new ground last week by approving the use of a mixture of bacteriophages, or bacteria-killing viruses, to control the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes on ready-to-eat (RTE) meat and poultry products.The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that a mixture of six bacteriophages developed by Intralytix, Inc., Baltimore, is safe to use. The product, called LMP 102, is the first bacteriophage preparation approved for use as a food additive.The product is intended to be sprayed on RTE meats such as sliced ham and turkey. Each of the bacteriophages in it targets various L monocytogenes strains, and the use of six different phages is intended to reduce the risk that Listeria would develop resistance, according to the FDA record of its decision on the product.Phages infect only bacteria and are part of the normal microbial population of the human intestinal tract, according to the FDA. L monocytogenes can grow at refrigerator temperatures and can cause serious illness, particularly in pregnant women, newborns, and people with weak immunity.The phages in LMP 102 are grown in Listeria cultures, the FDA said. In examining the product’s safety, the agency looked at whether it contains any potentially harmful Listeria residues, particularly one called Listeriolysin O (LLO). Investigators did not detect LLO in the product, and mechanisms in the gut would be likely to inactivate any trace amount present.The report also says that some phages can serve to transfer toxin or drug-resistance genes between bacterial cells, but the phages used in LMP 102 are not that kind.The FDA document does not say exactly how effective the product is in reducing Listeria on RTE meats. But John Vazzana, president and CEO of Intralytix, said that in company tests, LMP 102 has reduced Listeria by 99% to 99.9% (2 to 3 logs) on foods with relatively high levels of contamination.”We concluded from those tests that we could basically get rid of 99% of any LM [L monocytogenes] that’s present,” Vazzana told CIDRAP News.He said Intralytix has licensed the product to a multinational company that serves the food processing industry, but declined to name it. “I would think we’re probably 6 months away from the product being used commercially,” he said.The FDA said its action signals only that the product meets the safety standards of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The product must also comply with meat and poultry inspection laws that are administered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which require that food additives be “suitable” for their intended use, the agency said.Vazzana said the USDA has been “actively involved” in the FDA review of LMP 102 and that USDA approval is not in doubt. “This is not new to them; they’ve reviewed the petition, they’ve approved the product,” he said.The USDA will be developing guidelines for use of the product, “and that’s a process we’ll be going through over the next several weeks,” he added.Vazzana said the product may have to be listed on food labels, depending on what the USDA decides. He said that shouldn’t scare consumers, given that phages are “the most ubiquitious organisms on the planet today.””I think what we have to communicate to the consumer is that this is an all-natural approach” and that it will affect only Listeria, he said. “We believe this is a much better solution to a serious problem than using hordes of chemicals.”Vazzana estimated that using LMP 102 will add less than a penny a pound to the cost of RTE meat and poultry products.Food safety expert Craig Hedberg, PhD, said he agreed with the FDA that LMP 102 is likely to be safe, but he was cautious in assessing its likely contribution to controlling Listeria. Hedberg is an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis.”Theoretically, phages make a nice control measure, but the real-world application of these products almost always falls short of the ideal situation,” he told CIDRAP News by e-mail.”This seems to be another tool in the toolkit to control Listeria,” he added. “As such, it gives producers a greater range of options on control. The key to Listeria control is the successful integration of the various tools and careful monitoring of the systems to make sure everything is working as it should.”See also:FDA decision record on LMP 102http://www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/98fr/cf0559.pdflast_img read more

Some avian flu H7 viruses growing more human-like

first_imgMay 28, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Scientists have found evidence that North American avian influenza viruses of the H7 subtype are becoming more like human flu viruses in their ability to attach to host cells, which suggests they may be improving their capacity to infect humans.The investigators determined that several recent North American H7 viruses have an increased ability to bind to a type of receptor molecule that is abundant on human tracheal cells and is less common in birds. Their results were published this week by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.The finding—which comes as the deadly Eurasian H5N1 virus continues to be seen as the likeliest candidate to spark a pandemic—”underscores the necessity for continued surveillance and study of these [North American H7] viruses as they continue to resemble viruses with pandemic potential,” says the report. The study was done by scientists from the US Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emory University in Atlanta, and the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.H7 viruses have caused a number of disease outbreaks in poultry in Europe and North America in recent years, though far fewer than the widespread outbreaks caused by the H5N1 virus. H7 viruses also have occasionally infected humans, typically causing only mild conjunctivitis. But a veterinarian died of an H7N7 infection during the devastating poultry outbreaks in the Netherlands in 2003.Previous research has established that avian flu viruses prefer to link up with cell receptor molecules known as alpha 2-3 glycans, whereas human flu viruses, such as H1N1 and H3N2, prefer to attach to receptors called alpha 2-6. The terms refer to the nature of the link between sialic acid (SA), which forms the tip of the receptor molecule, and galactose, an adjoining sugar unit.Differences in receptor binding, transmissibilityIn the new study, with Jessica A. Belser of the CDC and Emory as first author, investigators examined the binding preferences of H7 viruses by exposing glycan microarrays—receptor molecules laid out in grids on glass slides—to solutions containing the viruses.In addition, they dosed ferrets with H7 viruses and tested whether they became infected and whether the infection spread to other ferrets housed with them. Ferrets are considered the best animal model for studying flu transmission, because the distribution of cell receptor types resembles that in humans.The viruses tested included two highly pathogenic H7N7 isolates from humans infected during the Dutch outbreaks of 2003, three H7N2 isolates from poultry outbreaks and a human case in the eastern United States in 2002 and 2003, and two H7N3 viruses from human conjunctivitis cases linked to a poultry outbreak in British Columbia in 2004.The scientists found that the two Dutch viruses, one of which (called NL/219) came from the fatal human case, showed the typical avian preference for alpha 2-3 glycans. In contrast, the three eastern US isolates showed significantly increased binding to alpha 2-6 receptors. One of these three, which came from a New York state man who was infected in 2003, showed both a sharply increased preference for alpha 2-6 glycans and reduced binding to alpha 2-3 receptors—a characteristic that was also observed in H1, H2, and H3 viruses when they were first introduced into humans, according to the report.The two Canadian isolates also showed an increased preference for alpha 2-6 receptors, compared with the Dutch strains, but it was less marked than that of the eastern US isolates.To study transmission, the researchers inoculated groups of three ferrets with one of six viruses and then caged them with three other ferrets to see if the viruses spread by direct contact. They found that the viruses multiplied in all of the inoculated ferrets, and some showed respiratory signs such as sneezing.However, most of the isolates did not spread efficiently to the other ferrets. The one clear exception was the New York virus, which was transmitted to all three of the previously unexposed ferrets and multiplied to high levels. None of the viruses spread via airborne droplets, as shown by the absence of infection in ferrets that were housed in cages next to the inoculated ferrets.The scientists write that the virus from the New York man showed both “the most dramatic shift in receptor specificity” and the greatest transmissibility in ferrets. However, they also note that an H7N2 chicken virus from Connecticut showed similar receptor preferences but spread by contact to only one of three ferrets.The authors say previous work shows that the preference for alpha 2-6 glycans seems to be essential for transmissibility in existing human flu viruses such as H1N1. But their results, they add, suggest that this characteristic alone is not sufficient to render avian flu viruses transmissible in ferrets, and that reduced binding to alpha 2-3 receptors may be one of the additional requirements.”These results indicate that H7 influenza viruses from the North American lineage have acquired sialic acid–binding properties that more closely resemble those of human influenza viruses and have the potential to spread to naïve animals,” the researchers conclude.A reminder of unpredictabilityInfectious disease expert Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, called the study scientifically “outstanding” and said it is a reminder that it’s impossible to predict which breed of flu virus will evolve into the next pandemic strain. Osterholm is director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of CIDRAP News.”It goes to the point that we don’t know what the next pandemic strain will be,” he said. “However, we’re reminded with the very disturbing data in this paper that it very well could be an H7. The most important message we can take from this is that there will be another pandemic strain that will emerge—tomorrow, next week, next year, whenever, but it’s going to occur.”Dr. Terence Tumpey, senior author of the CDC study, said North American H7 viruses studied since about 2002 generally seem to have shown an increasing affinity for human-type receptors, according to a May 26 Canadian Press (CP) story.”These viruses are partially adapted to recognize the receptors preferred by human influenza viruses, but not completely,” he told CP. “It needs to be adapted further. But I think it shows that potentially these viruses are changing.”David A. Halvorson, DVM, a veterinarian and avian flu expert at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, called the CDC study very interesting but cautioned against concluding that North American H7 viruses in general are becoming more like human-adapted strains, since the study did not include viruses from wild birds.He noted that the three eastern US isolates studied—the New York human virus, the Connecticut chicken isolate, and one from a turkey in Virginia—all showed increased binding to alpha 2-6 glycans, compared with a 1993 H7N1 isolate from North Carolina. The two Canadian isolates showed a lesser increase in alpha 2-6 binding.”The H7 viruses associated with the live poultry markets in New York were first detected in 1994 and remained there until 2006, so when the 2002 and 2003 isolates were obtained they had been circulating in chickens (mostly) for 8 to 10 years,” Havorson said via e-mail. “If we allow (conservatively) one infection cycle per week, that would mean the viruses had been passed 52 times per year or 416 to 520 passages in chickens.”As such they do not generally represent ‘North American isolates of H7,’ which would include hundreds if not thousands of wild bird H7s perhaps more typical of the rhea [North Carolina] isolate. It would be more correct to confine the title, discussion, and conclusions to human isolates of H7 and high-chicken-passage isolates of H7. Those findings are important to our understanding of how avian influenza viruses might become infectious for humans, but the findings do not necessarily apply to North American isolates in general.”Research on H7 vaccinesIn view of the possible threat posed by H7 viruses, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is sponsoring several studies of human H7 vaccines, according to NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci.A phase 1-2 clinical trial of a vaccine based on a US H7N7 virus was launched in March, Fauci told CIDRAP News today. The trial, based at Baylor School of Medicine in Houston, involves 125 volunteers who received doses ranging from 7.5 to 90 micrograms of antigen to study the vaccine’s safety and immunogenicity. The egg-based vaccine was made by Sanofi, he said.In addition, the NIAID recently conducted an intramural phase 1 clinical trial of a cold-adapted H7N3 vaccine made from the British Columbian strain, Fauci reported. He said the results show that the vaccine is safe, but the immunogenicity findings are still being analyzed.Fauci said some additional research on H7 vaccines is under way in NIAID labs in Bethesda, Md. “The bottom line is there is stuff going on,” he said.Belser JA, Blixt O, Chen L, et al. Contemporary North American influenza H7 virses possess human receptor specificity: implications virus transmissibility. Proc Nat Acad Sci 2008 May 27;105(21)7558-63 [Full text]See also: Jan 14 CIDRAP News story “Study refines view of H5N1 virus’s binding preferences”last_img read more

Emergent garners $29 million for new anthrax vaccine

first_img Sep 9 CIDRAP News story “HHS funds work on new anthrax antitoxin” Sep 26, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Emergent BioSolutions announced today that it has received a $29.7 million contract from the federal government to continue work on another of its next-generation anthrax vaccine candidates. A next-generation anthrax vaccine would help the US military more easily inoculate troops. Soldiers in high-risk areas such as the Middle East typically receive six doses of BioThrax over 18 months, followed by annual boosters. The military has said a next-generation anthrax vaccine should ideally require fewer doses and have fewer side effects. Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi, Emergent’s president and chief operating officer, said in the statement that the grant is encouraged by federal support for its AV7909 anthrax vaccine candidate. “We look forward to continuing to work with the US government to advance all aspects of AV7909, as it pursues a multi-prong approach in responding to the ongoing threat of bioterrorism,” he said. On Sep 3, Emergent announced that it had won a $24.3 million federal contract for an anthrax monoclonal antibody treatment called AVP-21D9. In its statement today the company said it was also developing a polyclonal anthrax immunoglobulin candidate for intravenous treatment for patients who have anthrax infections. Emergent’s AV7909 anthrax vaccine consists of BioThrax (also known as Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed), plus an adjuvant called CPG 7909, licensed from Pfizer, Inc. A clinical trial of CPG 7909 added to BioThrax showed that anti-protective antigen (PA) titers increased sixfold and reduced the time to peak response from 6 weeks to 3 weeks compared with BioThrax alone, Emergent said in its statement. Also, the two doses of AV7909 elicited the same anti-PA antibody levels as three doses of BioThrax.center_img See also: Sep 26 Emergent BioSolutions press release Of the 3-year contract, $24.9 million will cover the manufacturing of clinical lots, nonclinical safety and efficacy studies, and stability studies to determine if the vaccine can be stored without refrigeration, which is a key requirement for the new vaccine, Emergent said. The remaining $4.8 million would fund a phase 1 clinical trial if the company and the government exercise that option. Emergent, based in Rockville, Md., announced the contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in a press release today. The company makes BioThrax, the nation’s only licensed anthrax vaccine, and is also developing a recombinant anthrax vaccine and an anthrax monoclonal antibody to block the anthrax toxin.last_img read more

The most visited seaports are Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar

first_imgForeign cruise ships in the period from January to October 2018 made the same number of voyages as in the same period in 2017, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). In the mentioned period 2018, the number of passengers on these ships increased by 9,4%, while the total number of days spent was lower by 6,8% compared to the same period in 2017.A total of 644 cruises of foreign ships were realizedIn the period from January to October 2018, 72 foreign cruise ships entered Croatian seaports, with 644 cruises. There were 976 thousand passengers on these ships, who stayed in Croatia for 1 days.The largest number of voyages was made by ships flying the flags of the Bahamas (167 voyages) and Malta (147 voyages), while the largest number of passengers arrived by ships flying the flags of Panama (257 thousand passengers) and the Bahamas (213 thousand passengers).Source: CBSOut of a total of 644 cruises, most trips were realized in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County (56,5%) and the Split-Dalmatia County (24,7%), which is a total of 81,2%. The remaining 18,8% of trips were made to the following counties: Zadar (6,2%), Istria (5,4%), Šibenik-Knin (5,0%) and Primorje-Gorski Kotar (2,2%).The most visited seaports are Dubrovnik, Split and ZadarThe port of Dubrovnik (487 visits) had the most visits of foreign cruise ships, followed by the ports of Split (224 visits) and Zadar (111 visits).last_img read more

HGSS: Dear tourists, you are beautiful and without dangerous selfies from the top of the cliff

first_imgThis time from CMRS-a warn of the danger of taking selfies from dangerous locations. Although the messages of the HGSS are comical and entertaining, even hilarious, they are certainly not just a joke of the HGSS, but important messages that mean life. The Croatian Mountain Rescue Service (HGSS) has been declared one of the best communicators in Croatia, and I don’t know how many times they have shown that with a new warning for tourists. #deartourists Let’s keep Croatia full of life. Part three Source: FB HGSS Unfortunately, we are witnessing day by day that various people are ready to do anything for a good selfie, and thus endanger their lives, just to catch a good shot and a good photo. Unfortunately, some are killed. last_img

Travel agencies are introducing vouchers. Passengers will realize paid trips, and agencies will ensure the continuation of business

first_img “Therefore, we offer a solution that should satisfy both parties – to enable passengers to make trips, and to ensure that agencies continue to operate.. In the hope that we will quickly overcome this crisis and get out of it with our heads held high, we join the appeals of the Civil Protection Headquarters to follow the instructions issued by”Fain emphasizes. Travel agencies are introducing vouchers that will enable passengers to realize already paid trips, while agencies will thus ensure the continuation of business The spread of the coronavirus has caused unprecedented disruptions in daily life, many industries and the economy – including the travel industry. UHPA President Tomislav Fain emphasizes that the money paid has not been lost, and that travel agencies in Croatia, as part of UHPA, plan to introduce vouchers. Photo: UHPA The consequences of the current situation are also felt by passengers – individual guests and groups, business people on trips and organized congresses, schoolchildren and their parents, and everyone else. All of them have duly paid for their trips, which due to force majeure, in these extraordinary circumstances, will not be realized and they expect compensation. From the recommendations of the competent institutions to temporarily postpone travel to the suspension of regular traffic lines, closing of borders and complete ban on travel of any kind, the coronavirus dealt a strong blow to travel agencies, travel organizers and tourism service providers. “We plan to start issuing vouchers to passengers for paid arrangements which, in the amount of the paid amount, they will be able to use for another trip, when all this is over, and as our colleagues in many European countries are already doing.Fain emphasizes. Travelers must know that their money did not remain in the travel agency’s account but was forwarded to the hotel, airline, carrier… therefore the working capital of a travel agency, mostly small or medium business, is limited and refunds to the service user it would be fatal for many of them.last_img read more

The Vukovart project once again turned Vukovar into an art port

first_imgPresenting street food and craft beer from the vicinity of Vukovar and a concert Guitar, this year’s 4th Vukovar was completed on Saturday. Meet 5 new residents of the city of Vukovar Boogie – Boogie Down VukovarCounty Road 108 – 110 See a list of locations from all 23 murals HERE OKO – Because He’s Mister Strength, Courage and HealthHomeland War Street 36 The project is literally transforming visual identity of the city and makes it a nicer place to live, but also which is crucial – it creates added value in the tourism sector through the so-called Outdoor gallery. Otherwise, this is a phenomenal project Vukovar – port of art which promotes Vukovar as a place that accepts all artists, ie creators of new values. With five new murals by top artists: AROUND – Croatia, Tea Jurišić – Croatia, Eugen Varzic – Croatia, Boogie – Switzerland and Arsek & Erase – Bulgaria, the open-air gallery now consists of 23 murals that send a positive and some other message to the world from Vukovar. In addition to lectures by Dubravko Mataković, Domagoj Jakopović – Ribafish, films, concerts and presentations of street food and craft beer, a panel discussion “Street Art in Croatia” was organized with the participation of Zen Opuzen, 43 Jam and Graffiti on the grill, and all programs were in open. Tea Jurisic – BoraOlajnica 18 Arsek & Erase – The Golden SnakeHomeland War 30 Vukovar is another proof of the thesis that events and tourism change the city for the better and create added value. Vukovar must be one of the directions of the future development of Vukovar tourism, but also the economy through a focus on cultural and creative industries (KIK), and not war tourism. More on that topic soon. Eugen Varzic – Future FreedomIvo Tijardovic Memorial Center 60last_img read more