NEWS SCAN: Avian flu, food safety funding, XDR-TB combo therapy, bioterror countermeasures, Salmonella

first_imgFeb 27, 2009Vietnamese man dies from H5N1 infectionThe World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed the death of a 32-year-old Vietnamese man from H5N1 avian influenza. The man, from Ninh Binh province, died on Feb 25. He was previously recorded as the country’s 109th case, and his death raises Vietnam’s H5N1 fatalities to 54. The WHO’s global H5N1 count now stands at 408 cases, 256 of them fatal.[Feb 27 WHO statement]Japan finds H7 at quail farm, UK tests reveal H6N1 from turkeysJapan today reported a low-pathogenic avian influenza outbreak at a quail farm in Aichi province, on the country’s southeastern coast, according to a report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Authorities detected the virus in 10 birds during routine surveillance, and 280,000 birds were culled to control disease spread. Results on the exact strain of the virus are pending, though the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported today that testing has so far revealed an H7 strain. The findings signal Japan’s first H7 avian flu outbreak in 84 years, the report said. Elsewhere, the avian influenza strain that struck two small turkey-breeding farms in the United Kingdom was identified today as H6N1, and further tests are under way to determine if the strain is highly pathogenic, according to the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).[Feb 27 OIE report][Feb 27 DEFRA statement]Obama proposes $1 billion for FDA’s food safety effortsPresident Barack Obama’s proposed 2010 budget includes $1 billion to strengthen food safety oversight at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to a Reuters report published yesterday. The money is for increasing and improving “inspections, domestic surveillance, laboratory capacity and domestic response to prevent and control foodborne illness,” the report said. Earlier this month, Obama called for a complete review of the FDA’s food safety program.Combination therapy shows promise against XDR-TBA combination of two older antibiotics that are already approved by the FDA for use against other diseases could have efficacy against extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, according to a paper in Science. The drugs, meropenem and clavulanate, killed Mycobacterium tuberculosis in vitro and will be used in a planned clinical trial.[Feb 26 National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases press release][Feb 27 Science abstract]DOD funds vaccine to counter bacterial agentsThe US Department of Defense  has given University of Georgia researchers a 3-year, $1.1 million grant to develop vaccines for glanders and melioidosis, two related diseases caused by strains of the bacterium Burkholderia that are considered potential biological weapons. The research focuses on creating a vaccine to protect mice against airborne infection.[Feb 26 Atlanta Business Chronicle story]Salmonella Saintpaul sickens 14 Nebraska womenNebraska health officials are investigating a Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak that has sickened 14 women younger than age 50 since Feb 2 from four of the state’s counties, according to an online report today from Omaha television station KETV. Though the serotype is the same as last year’s outbreak that involved jalapeno and Serrano peppers, the genetic fingerprint is different, officials said, adding that they don’t believe the outbreak is connected to peanut butter.Water sources may yield Salmonella cluesInvestigation of Salmonella illnesses should consider untreated surface water as a possible contamination source, researchers from the University of Georgia reported today in the March issue of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. After testing rivers and streams in southern Georgia for 1 year, they found Salmonella in 79% of water samples, and levels were highest after a rainfall. The diversity of strains was greatest in areas where livestock and growing areas were in close proximity and when temperatures rose.[Feb 27 University of Georgia press release][March Appl Environ Microbiol abstract]last_img read more

Van Gaal wants a relaxed Rooney

first_imgLouis van Gaal has told Wayne Rooney he must relax if he is to be a successful leader of Manchester United. But before he handed Rooney the armband, Van Gaal reminded the player – who has had his moments of ill-discipline in the past – he must be a fine ambassador for the club away from the field of play, as well as on it. “His attitude, of course,” Van Gaal said when asked why he selected Rooney. “That is in the pitch and on the training ground and I have explained to him also outside the pitch is also very important for me. “And he accepted the responsibility and I like very much how he did train and also how he performed in the game and how he performed to his fellow players.” There was no sign Van Gaal was suffering from any pre-match nerves on Friday, even though he admitted his preparations have been disrupted by a series of injuries. Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw, Jonny Evans, Danny Welbeck, and back-up goalkeeper Sam Johnstone are unavailable. Van Persie is still short of match fitness following his late return from the World Cup and it is unlikely Adnan Januzaj and Marouane Fellaini will start against Swansea for the same reason. But after six straight wins in pre-season – against teams who have amassed 35 major European trophies between them – Van Gaal is not daunted by the prospect of trying to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford following last year’s seventh-place finish under David Moyes. “I am very confident. I am not nervous – don’t you see it?” said Van Gaal, his booming voice reverberating around an “unbelievable” new room at United’s training ground in Carrington. “I am not worried. We have beaten them all until now.” Van Gaal lamented the loss of Luke Shaw, the £27million left-back who is out for a month with a hamstring problem. The former Barcelona manager listed six reasons why Shaw suffered the injury. Three of them were related to United’s five-match 13,500-mile pre-season trek around America. United are hopeful of reaching an agreement with Sporting Lisbon over the transfer of Argentina defender Marcos Rojo, who has a 30 million euro (£24m) buy-out clause in his contract. For now, Van Gaal could deploy either Ashley Young, Tyler Blackett or Reece James at left-back. Neither Blackett nor James have played a competitive game for United, but their 63-year-old manager is not afraid of handing them their debut on Saturday. “I don’t think so,” Van Gaal said when it was suggested United are short of left-backs. “We have played in the USA with Ashley Young and Reece James in that position, so that position is very well-covered.” For the fans who became disenchanted with watching United under Moyes last year, Van Gaal had one final message. “The most important thing is the fans shall understand how we play and the way of playing will give pleasure to them,” Van Gaal said. His English may not be polished to perfection, but the message coming through was clear enough – Van Gaal is on a mission to put smiles back on faces at Old Trafford this year, and he would love to start with an emphatic win over Swansea. Van Gaal takes charge of his first competitive match as United boss on Saturday when Swansea come to Old Trafford. It will also be the first time Rooney has led the team out in his new role as United’s full-time captain. Press Association Rooney was announced as the club’s skipper on Tuesday night, following the 2-1 win over Valencia. Rooney also wore the armband in the friendly victory, but he put in a sub-par performance on the night, missing a penalty in the first half. Van Gaal believes Rooney has the potential to be an excellent United captain, but the Dutchman thinks the striker must not be overawed by the responsibility. “I said to him (after the Valencia game): ‘Maybe it was too much for you as a captain’,” Van Gaal told a press conference. “But I said to him – ‘let it fly’, because when we were (on tour) in the US, he scored a lot of goals, and made a great amount of assists so I wanted to say that.” Given that Van Gaal enjoys a good relationship with Robin van Persie, who skippered Holland under the United boss at the World Cup, Rooney’s appointment as captain came as something of a surprise. Van Persie even missed out on the vice-captaincy, which was awarded to long-serving midfielder Darren Fletcher, who had an excellent pre-season tour. It was Rooney’s work-rate and application in pre-season that won him the honour of following in the footsteps of club greats such as Sir Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson and Eric Cantona. last_img read more

First period update: Wisconsin down 2 against top ranked Minnesota

first_imgNo. 1 Minnesota leads No. 8 Wisconsin 2-0 through one period of play in LaBahn Arena.The Golden Gophers started the scoring early in the first period with a goal from freshman forward Hannah Brandt from the right circle with less than five minutes off of the clock.Junior forward Amanda Kessel picked up her WCHA leading 38th assist on Brandt’s goal.The Badgers had plenty of opportunities to even the game, outshooting the Gophers 5-2 halfway through the first period.With 3:57 left in the period Wisconsin junior defenseman Natalie Berg picked up a penalty for tripping giving Minnesota a power play. Just one minute later UW senior forward Alev Kelter was called for roughing giving UM a two man advantage with just three minutes left in the period.Wisconsin’s goaltender Alex Rigsby did her best to hold off the Minnesota power play racking up several consecutive saves until finally giving up a goal to Mira Jalosuo from the left circle with just one second left in Minnesota’s 5-3 advantage.The Golden Gophers ended the first period outshooting the Badgers 12-7.last_img read more