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NEWS SCAN: Avian flu in Egypt, low-path H7 outbreaks, H5N1 and raccoons, Malaysia’s pandemic exercise

first_imgApr 6, 2009H5N1 strikes another Egyptian childEgypt’s health ministry said yesterday that a 6-year-old boy from Qalyubiya governorate, just north of Cairo, is hospitalized in critical condition and on a ventilator with an H5N1 avian influenza infection, Egypt-based Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR) reported yesterday. He got sick on Mar 22, was hospitalized on Mar 28, and received oseltamivir (Tamiflu) on Apr 3. The report did not say if the boy had been exposed to sick or dead poultry. If the World Health Organization (WHO) confirms the boy’s case, he will be listed as Egypt’s 63rd H5N1 case-patient, of which 23 have died of their infections.[Apr 5 SAIDR report]Kentucky and Germany report H7 at poultry farmsAgriculture officials in Kentucky announced on Apr 3 that they were investigating a suspected low-pathogenic avian influenza outbreak at a broiler/breeder farm in the western part of the state. The farm processes hatching eggs for Perdue Farms, Inc., which in mid March noted a drop in egg production and found that the birds had antibodies for avian influenza. Testing by the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, found evidence suggesting exposure to an H7 virus, and further tests confirmed the finding. Perdue plans to cull 20,000 chickens from two of the farms’ barns, and state agriculture officials are conducting surveillance within a 2-mile radius of the farm. Elsewhere, animal health officials in Germany will cull 17,000 turkeys at a commercial farm in Kleve district in the western part of the country near the border with Holland after a low-pathogenic H7 virus was detected in preliminary tests, according to a translation of a German media report that appeared on ProMed mail, the Internet-based reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. The samples are undergoing further testing at the Friedrich Loeffler Institute on the Isle of Riems.[Apr 3 Kentucky Department of Agriculture press release][Apr 3 ProMed mail post]Japanese researchers find raccoons had H5N1 exposureJapanese researchers said today that they have detected H5N1 avian influenza antibodies in 10 wild raccoons, the first such finding in the country’s mammals, the Daily Yomiuri reported today. They presented their findings at a conference of the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science and warned that infected raccoons could spread the virus to chicken farms. They based their findings on blood from 998 raccoons that were collected since 2005 from three locations in western Japan and one site in the eastern part of the country. They said that the 10 raccoons that showed H5N1 antibodies were probably infected by eating the carcasses of sick birds or inheriting the antibody from a parent. In December 2008, US researchers reported in Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) that they found antibodies to a variety of influenza subtypes in raccoons. When they experimentally infected the raccoons, they found that the animals can become infected with avian and human influenza A viruses, shed and transmit the virus to other animals, and seroconvert. Raccoons have avian- and human-type cellular receptors, which could make the animals a mixing vessel for creating novel flu strains.[Dec 2008 EID report]Malaysia conducts pandemic containment exerciseMalaysia’s health ministry today began a 2-day exercise to test the country’s ability to respond quickly to the early signs of an influenza pandemic, according a report from Bernama, the national news agency. Today officials from the health ministry and the WHO primarily were testing decision-making processes, said Dr. Mohd Ismail. Tomorrow’s plans call for a table-top exercise to test the government’s operational capacity to implement rapid containment measures.[Apr 6 Bernama report]last_img read more

The NFL draft is a game of fortune

first_imgJulia Poe | Daily TrojanThis week’s edition of Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback was headlined by a bold prediction: “This is going to be the most talked-about [NFL] draft in history.” That quote came from Gil Brandt, the Dallas Cowboys’ former vice president and the NFL’s current go-to draft guru. If anyone can make an accurate gambit on the future of the league, Brandt, who spent three decades with the Cowboys, would be your man. Yet somehow, the prediction of a life-changing, league-altering draft seems almost too good to be true.There are only two weeks left until this year’s NFL Draft is underway in Texas. But is Dallas really capable of changing all that much? After all, those three days of lottery picks could be described as the most overhyped event of every year of pro football. The same storyline seems to play out on an annual basis. A few prayers for Cleveland, a few misty-eyed moments over touching stories of players who overcame adversity, and then the smoke settles and the real work begins. I’m not saying that the draft isn’t important. The players selected over those three days set the tone and the foundation of the future of every team in the league. But the draft is a bit of a shot in the dark. For the past year, scouts at every team have been doing their best to predict the future value of a player, and that isn’t an exact science.Every football fan knows this story. Todd Marinovich was picked before Brett Favre. Tom Brady went 199th overall. All too often, the greatest stars are overlooked or ignored in the draft, and those who go in the first round end up peaking in college.Even former Trojans have seen this play out. Former USC receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, for instance, was a second-round pick last year, then burst onto the scene with the Steelers to become a household name in Pittsburgh and around the NFL. Smith-Schuster ended up posting better stats and making a bigger impact on his team than other first-round picks, such as Corey Davis and Mike Williams, were able to at their respective teams.The draft process is ultimately unpredictable, a series of well-researched guesses that sometimes pan out and sometimes crash and burn. So why might this draft be the one that changes everything? Perhaps because it’s stacked with an unbelievably expansive lineup of dependable future stars.We’ll get to the quarterbacks, but first, when talking about this draft, you have to talk about Saquon Barkley. The former Nittany Lion has every tool in his belt to become an All-Pro player in a handful of years. He’s powerful, he’s explosive and when he has the ball, it’s impossible to tear your eyes away from him. If you watched Barkley play a single snap last season, you know that any team can depend on him to shoulder the run game of an offense, even as a rookie. In any given year, Barkley would probably go in the top four. But not this year. And that’s because of the quarterback class, a group of five young players who each have the potential to become something special.A lot of scouts, analysts and fans have argued that this class isn’t all that special because of the obvious question marks surrounding each quarterback. Josh Allen has the arm, but not the accuracy. Sam Darnold has the go-get-it attitude and the natural vision, but he tosses too many interceptions. Josh Rosen talks too much; Lamar Jackson runs too often; Baker Mayfield is, well, Baker Mayfield.But in my opinion, the focus of these criticisms proves the difference between this quarterback class and those of the past. Many of the critiques brought up for each of these quarterbacks define how the young player might not become a star. But I think it’s hard to argue that each of these five athletes will become consistent, dependable starters. And at least a few of them will grow to become stars.This is how this year’s draft could change everything. As the day nears, many experts are predicting that the first five picks could easily be quarterbacks, with Rosen and Darnold expected to take the first and second slots. This means that the frontrunners of five teams could be completely different next year. Even more importantly, it means that five teams could have veritable superstars in the making running the show next season.If anyone needs proof of how quickly a young quarterback can make a difference, they only have to look east to Philadelphia, which is still basking in the glow of the Super Bowl victory that Carson Wentz set up in his sophomore season. The Eagles traded up to clinch Wentz in the 2016 Draft, and after an impressive showing as a rookie, he went on to lay the foundation for the dangerous Philly offense that overthrew Brady this season.The coming-of-age season for Wentz was only the beginning of a shift that is soon to develop throughout the NFL, with Patrick Mahomes taking over the reins in Kansas City and Deshaun Watson returning to full health in Houston. The addition of five new quarterbacks with the potential to make similarly big splashes in their rookie seasons means that this is going to be an explosive year of football to watch.This year, the NFL has a major shakeup in the works. Fans across the league better strap in and prepare for the ride.Julia Poe is a junior majoring in print and digital journalism. Her column, “Poe’s Perspective,” runs Tuesdays.last_img read more