Mar 29, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Initial testing indicates that all five members of a family of chicken farmers near Haiphong, Vietnam, have avian influenza, the World Health Organization (WHO) and news services said today.”These cases, which include the parents and their three young daughters, are undergoing further investigation following initial tests indicating infection with the H5 subtype of avian influenza,” the WHO said in a statement. “Reports indicate outbreaks of avian influenza in poultry in the vicinity.”An Agence France-Press (AFP) report said the family members were in stable condition in Haiphong’s Viet Tiep Hospital. An unnamed physician at the hospital was quoted as saying, “Initial tests showed they are positive for H5N1. We are treating them according to plans but we need final confirmation from Hanoi.”If the cases are confirmed, they apparently will represent the largest family cluster since human cases of H5N1 avian flu began occurring in Asia in early 2004.A woman who lives near the family is also being treated for suspected avian flu, another doctor from the Haiphong hospital told AFP. The Chinese news agency Xinhua further reported that a child from the same commune as the other six people is hospitalized.A field investigation of the family cases is under way, WHO reported. “Thorough investigation of all such clusters is essential to determine possible changes in the behavior of the virus and thus support assessment of the risk of an influenza pandemic,” the agency said.The statement also said, “There is currently no evidence that the H5N1 virus is spreading easily from person to person.”The WHO also reported today that the Vietnamese Ministry of Health has formally confirmed several avian flu cases that were previously reported by the news media. The agency listed the people involved as a 5-year-old boy from the central province of Quang Binh, a 17-year-old girl from the northern province of Nam Dinh (who died Mar 23), and a 40-year-old woman from the northern province of Quang Ninh. An earlier case also has been confirmed, the WHO said, but the agency did not describe that person.The WHO also provided a limited update on the investigation of media-reported cases of flu-like illness in Quang Binh province. The agency is awaiting test results but said the number of illnesses appears much smaller than the 195 cases first reported by local media.If the Haiphong family is included, the unofficial count of avian flu cases has risen to 79, including 49 deaths, since late 2003. That includes 60 cases with 35 deaths in Vietnam, 17 cases with 12 deaths in Thailand, and 2 fatal cases in Cambodia.Meanwhile, poultry and politics were taking center stage elsewhere in Southeast Asia, as officials sought to contain outbreaks in Cambodia and North Korea.Using bullhorns and battery-powered tape players mounted on motorbikes, health workers in Cambodia are going from house to house in Cambodia’s Kampot province, said Sok Touch, director of the Health Ministry’s communicable disease control department, in an interview for an Associated Press (AP) story today.”They are telling people not to touch sick or dead birds and that if they have any suspected bird flu symptoms, such as fever and cough, they should go to the nearest healthcare center,” he said. Both Cambodians who died of avian flu lived in Kampot province.An investigation continues in Kampot into the Mar 22 death of Meas Ran, 28, WHO announced today. The agency said Cambodian officials formally confirmed his previously reported case today. Authorities have learned he had contact with sick poultry, but apparently he did not pass the disease to others. Thirty-three of his family members, neighbors, and healthcare providers have tested negative for avian flu, WHO said.Elsewhere, the WHO had been in talks with North Korea about preventing human cases of avian flu even before the recent announcement that the country slaughtered hundreds of thousands of poultry sick with avian flu, according to AFP. North Korea’s state media have said no human cases have occurred there.”The WHO had offered its help to the country to prepare for human cases of avian flu,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told reporters, but didn’t say whether the offer had been accepted.Another WHO official in Asia said the agency sought to obtain a sample of the virus in North Korea for testing, AFP reported today.Although avian flu is killing poultry in five Asian countries, only two of them have maintained timely reporting of the cases to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), as shown on OIE Web site. Thailand reported the deaths or culling of 50 chickens in Sukhothai province from Mar 9 to 17, and Indonesia reported an outbreak among chickens for the week ending Mar 11.North Korea hasn’t notified OIE but is working with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, AFP reported today. Other countries appear to be lagging in OIE notification: Vietnam made its most recent report on Feb 28, and Cambodia made its most recent report on Sep 22, 2004.See also:Mar 29 WHO news releasehttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2005_03_29b/en/
“We are now communicating our expectations more clearly to trustees. Those who fail to respond to our more directive approach may face further regulatory action.”The campaign follows a 2016 discussion paper from TPR looking at how standards could be raised among trustees and pension schemes’ governance improved.Last week the regulator said it had found “major gaps” in pension fund governance, with many small and medium-sized pension schemes demonstrating disappointing shortcomings.A week earlier, the UK pension scheme trade body said TPR needed to be less focused on processes and more on people in its approach to regulating pension fund governance.Commenting on TPR’s new campaign, Darren Redmayne, CEO of Lincoln Pensions, said he anticipated it would increase the regulatory burden on schemes, with smaller schemes likely to feel this most.“Perhaps obvious ‘winners’ from this campaign will include the professional trustee and covenant advisory firms who, I expect, will see even more work come their way as lay trustees respond to these reaffirmed expectations,” he added. The UK’s pension regulator has launched a communications campaign to make clearer its expectations of pension fund governance and what it will do if its standards are not met.The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has launched a dedicated section of its website containing “specific and relevant content that sets out clear standards that TPR expects schemes to meet”.The campaign does not involve new or higher standards being set, but the regulator being “clearer and more directive”, it said.Anthony Raymond, acting executive director for regulatory policy at TPR, said: “We have set out our intention to be clearer, quicker and tougher. This campaign is one of the ways we are delivering this commitment and I would like to see all trustees visit the new campaign web page to ensure they are doing all they can to safeguard their members’ benefits.
The Raiders (7-8) somehow staved off elimination from the AFC playoffs in Week 16. They stayed alive with their 24-17 victory over the Chargers in Los Angeles.Oakland also got the help it needed with Pittsburgh (8-7) and Tennessee (8-7) losing, plus Indianapolis (7-8) winning earlier Sunday. That opens a simple path for the Raiders to make the playoffs as a .500 team in 2019. Fourth, the Raiders need the Colts to win again. Indianapolis needs to go on the road, too, against the reeling Jaguars, who have gone into the tank. That seems to be the easiest part of the equation for Oakland.The Raiders might be representing Oakland for the last time in Week 17 before moving to Las Vegas in 2020, but don’t bet the house against them sneaking into the playoffs.Crazier things have happened to end a season. First, the Raiders need a win in Week 17 to get to 8-8. They play at the Broncos; that’s a winnable road game.NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE: Updated AFC, NFC standings for Week 16Second, the Raiders need the Steelers to lose again. Pittsburgh also needs to go on the road, against the Ravens, but the AFC North champs might help the Steelers’ cause by resting key players with their No. 1 seeding in the AFC playoffs already clinched.Third, the Raiders need the Titans to lose again. Tennesee also needs to go on the road, against Houston, but the AFC South-champion Texans have little for which to play, with a top-two seed and a first-round bye out of reach.