Avian flu strikes Hong Kong poultry farm

first_imgDec 9, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Health officials in Hong Kong today said they have detected an H5 avian influenza outbreak at a poultry farm in Yuen Long, marking the country’s first farm-based outbreak since 2003.York Chow, Hong Kong’s secretary for food and health, said in a press release today that the H5 avian flu virus struck 60 chickens, which died yesterday. He did not say if the virus at the farm was the highly pathogenic H5N1 subtype.Malik Peiris, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong, said it is “highly likely” that the virus is the lethal H5N1 strain, because other strains aren’t as deadly as the one involved in the outbreak appears to be, according to a report from Reuters today. “But this has to be confirmed,” he said.Chow said in the press release that he elevated Hong Kong’s avian flu alert to serious after receiving the H5 test results. He said the agriculture department will cull 80,000 chickens within a 3-km radius of the index farm and will destroy another 10,000 chickens from the area that have been transported to a wholesale market.Hong Kong’s government has also banned the export of chickens from all of the special administrative region’s farms and has halted all poultry imports, both effective for the next 21 days.He said Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection would monitor the status of the farm’s owners and workers, none of whom have developed symptoms. Chow also said in the statement that veterinary officials have closed an aviary park near the farm and are monitoring the health of 1,500 birds that are kept in other parks in Hong Kong.The length of time since Hong Kong’s last farm outbreak is a sign that the prevention measures have worked well, he said in the statement. However, he said he was concerned about the latest outbreak, because the first chickens to die were those that had not been vaccinated.According to a Feb 5 report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the H5N1 virus is common and present year-round in Hong Kong, occurring in resident and migratory birds. The report said poultry farms are constantly monitored with serologic and virologic testing. All farm chickens routinely receive an inactivated H5N2 vaccine, and each flock contains 60 unvaccinated sentinels that are monitored over the lifespan of the group.In July, Yuen Kwok-yung, who heads the University of Hong Kong’s microbiology department, warned that the poultry vaccine has lost its effectiveness over the past 7 years of use, according to previous reports. He said that the virus in Hong Kong had shifted away from the Fujian strain that the vaccine was developed for and advised officials to ban live poultry from Hong Kong markets before the vaccine becomes completely ineffective.One month earlier, animal health officials had detected the H5N1 virus in poultry feces at several market stalls, but did not determine the source of the virus.Over the past few years, Hong Kong has filed several reports of individual sick or dead wild birds that tested positive for the H5N1 virus. The recent OIE report described two egrets—one found dead and one found sick in a Hong Kong park—that tested positive for the H5N1 virus in November and December 2007.See also:Feb 5 OIE reportJul 10 CIDRAP News story “Expert warns Hong Kong’s avian flu vaccine is waning”last_img read more

Wisconsin bench instrumental in Sunday win

first_imgThe Wisconsin men’s basketball team walked away from the Kohl Center Sunday with a season-opening victory over nonconference foe Southeastern Louisiana, thanks in large part to plenty of help from the bench. Wisconsin (1-0) thumped Southeastern Louisiana (0-1) 87-47, and UW’s bench players pitched in 34 points and 15 rebounds.Lions head coach Jim Yarbrough said he liked the way Wisconsin’s bench approached the game and hopes his team can learn from it.“I was very impressed by how motivated their bench was,” Yarbrough said. “Every kid who came in for them was really motivated to play hard and that’s great commentary and great credit to [UW head] coach [Bo] Ryan. That’s the sort of thing that you try to establish at your own program when you’re building it up, try to get kids to play with that kind of motivation.”Wisconsin’s bench was led by senior forward Mike Bruesewitz, who made a surprisingly quick return to the floor after suffering a severe leg laceration that sidelined him for just more than a month during the preseason.“When you see your bone and a freak thing like that happens, a lot of stuff runs through your head,” Bruesewitz said. “I’m definitely recharged and refocused. I was really excited to come into the season before the injury and now it’s about 10 times more. I was really excited that I got cleared to play today. I was all smiles today and this morning and all through pregame, so I’m really excited to be back. That’s the only way to describe it.”Bruesewitz showed little rust in his first action of the season, as the senior finished the game perfect from field, hitting all three of his shots for 10 points while also collecting three rebounds.Ryan said he knows what Bruesewitz can do for the team and was pleased to have him on the court Sunday.“It’s Mike,” Ryan said of his senior’s strong performance. “Just to see a guy like that back with that kind of experience, it was so obvious in practice on Friday and Saturday what he gives us, so now to have that back, we are very thankful.”Yarbrough joked he was hoping Bruesewitz would not be able to play against Southeastern Louisiana, knowing how big a piece he is for Wisconsin’s team.“I was extremely disappointed to see [Bruesewitz] out there today,” Yarbrough said with a smile. “They have enough weapons without him. He’s so rugged and tough. He was terrific.”UW also saw contributions from several new faces. Freshman forward Sam Dekker took advantage of his 17 minutes on the floor, hitting two three-pointers and finishing the game with eight points and a rebound.The highly-touted freshman received the most game time among bench players, with sophomore guard Traevon Jackson close behind after logging 15 minutes of action. Despite making two of his three long range attempts, Ryan was not happy to see Dekker launching shots behind the three-point arc early in the shot clock.“Sam’s learning what I like and what I think is a good shot, just like everybody else has had to,” Ryan said. “It’s a little different.”Jackson contributed during his time on the court at guard, pitching in with four points, a rebound and an assist.After transferring from the Air Force and sitting out last season, redshirt junior forward Zach Bohannon – the brother of former UW basketball standout Jason Bohannon – made the most of his nine minutes Sunday, racking up five points and five rebounds and hitting all three of his shots on the night. Wisconsin’s bench shot just better than 57 percent from the field, compared to the team total of 52.5 percent, and did not miss a shot from the charity stripe.With more than half of UW’s bench players being underclassmen, Ryan said he is happy with the way the young players preformed but still sees room for improvement.“We’ll take what they give us on the defensive end, rebounding, points, screens,” Ryan said. “It’s about the whole process that matters to us. When we break the film down, I’m sure there are some things where they can improve.”last_img read more