FAO: H5N1 levels in Indonesia raise pandemic risk

first_imgMar 18, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today warned that H5N1 avian influenza levels in Indonesia’s poultry are so high that conditions may be ripe for the type of viral mutation that could spark an influenza pandemic.”I am deeply concerned that the high level of virus circulation in birds in the country could create conditions for the virus to mutate and to finally cause a human influenza pandemic,” said Joseph Domenech, the FAO’s chief veterinary officer, in a press release today.Also, new H5N1 virus strains have recently emerged in Indonesia that might limit the effectiveness of the poultry vaccines used there, Domenech said.He said that Indonesia has the world’s highest H5N1 mortality rate and that human cases will keep rising unless the country and its international partners do more to stamp out the virus in birds.The FAO said the disease has hit 31 of 33 provinces in Indonesia and is endemic in Java, Sumatra, Bali, and southern Sulawesi islands. About 20% of the country’s 1.4 billion chickens are spread among 30 million backyard flocks, putting them in close contact with people.Despite “major control efforts,” Indonesia has failed to contain the spread of the virus in poultry, Domenech said. “Indonesia is facing an uphill battle against a virus that is difficult to contain,” he said. “Major human and financial resources, stronger political commitment and strengthened coordination between central, province, and district authorities are required to improve surveillance and control measures.”Problems controlling the virus in Indonesia stem from a highly decentralized administration, poorly resourced national veterinary services, little collaboration with commercial poultry producers, and insufficient national and international financial and human resources, the FAO said. International donors have contributed $25 million to the effort so far, the agency reported.The emergence of the new H5N1 virus strains and the possible lapse in vaccine protection are under investigation by Indonesia’s agriculture ministry, with technical assistance from the FAO and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and financial assistance from the United States and Australia, the FAO said.”Also required are more investigations and the development of better poultry vaccines,” Domenech said.The FAO said it has helped train 1,350 “participatory disease surveillance and response teams” that are working to control avian flu in 193 of Indonesia’s 448 districts. By June, more than 2,000 response teams will be working in over 300 districts, the agency said.In other developments, agriculture officials in China recently informed Hong Kong’s Food and Health Bureau that the H5N1 virus struck birds in a poultry market in the city of Guangzhou, in southern China’s Guangdong province, according to an Associated Press (AP) report yesterday. Hong Kong officials said the outbreak is China’s fifth of the year, the report said.The outbreak at the Guangzhou market killed 114 birds, and 518 others were culled to control the disease, the AP reported.Elsewhere, veterinary officials in Vietnam announced on Mar 16 an outbreak in ducks in yet another province, Quang Nam in the central part of the country, according to a Mar 17 report by Thanh Nien News, a Vietnamese news service. The H5N1 virus struck 300 birds, and the remaining ducks, along with poultry on nearby farms, were culled.See also:Mar 18 FAO statementlast_img read more

New Mein Schiff 2 Delivered to TUI Cruises in Kiel

first_imgGerman cruise line TUI Cruises took delivery of New Mein Schiff 2, a next-generation cruise ship, in Kiel on January 22, 2019.Built at Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland, the ship was transferred to Kiel at the beginning of January for the final equipment due to icy weather in the Turku archipelago.The 111,500-ton newbuild is a sister ship to New Mein Schiff 1, delivered to the cruise company in April last year. Featuring a length of 315 meters and a width of 36 meters, New Mein Schiff 2 can accommodate 2,894 passengers and 1,092 crew onboard.“The commissioning of our new Mein Schiff 2 marks the successful end of our first expansion phase. Our sixth newbuild by Meyer Turku not only impresses with its design, its inner values are equally convincing: With the use of modern technologies we are setting standards for environmental protection,” Wybcke Meier, TUI Cruises CEO commented.With New Mein Schiff 2, Meyer Turku and TUI Cruises have further improved and refreshed the design of the ship.“For us it has been a thrill working with TUI Cruises on the design and construction of this ship. We have redesigned many of the areas of the ship, e.g. the Schau Bar and the restaurant area in front of the aft diamond structure,” Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku, said.The New Mein Schiff 2, which flies the flag of Malta, will be christened in Lisbon on February 9, 2019. The ship will be baptized during its maiden voyage between Bremerhaven and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, with calls in La Coruña, Leixões, Lisbon, Cadiz and Arrecife.Take a closer look at the New Mein Schiff 2 in the video below:Due to the commissioning of the new ship, the previous Mein Schiff 2 was renamed Mein Schiff Herz this January. From February to March, the 77,302-ton vessel will undergo a dry dock overhaul in Marseille, France, TUI Cruises said.The 1997-built cruise ship will continue to be part of the TUI Cruises’ fleet until April 2022 when it will be handed over to the TUI’s UK’s subsidiary Marella Cruises.Image Courtesy: Meyer Turku; Video Courtesy: Unimedienlast_img read more

38 Deaths in 3 Days: Ebola Wreaks Havoc in Lofa

first_imgThe Ebola virus is taking a deadly toll on the northern county of Lofa where the deadly disease initially crossed over from neighboring Guinea.  More and more people in that county continue to be victimized by the virus.In a statistical report provided by the Lofa Health Team on the status of the situation in the county, made available to the Daily Observer Wednesday, August 13, there were 38 deaths recorded in three days.  These include confirmed Ebola cases, probable and suspected. This report covers the three-day period August 8 to 11, 2014. The number of new contact cases within this period (August 8-11) stands at 81.The total deaths in the county since May 29, 2014 to date stands at 221. Lofa is so far one of the most highly affected counties.The update also disclosed that the number of patients presently at the Foya Care Center (August 8-11), one of the two Ebola centers in the country, stands at 81.New reported death amongst health workers (August 8-11) is one, totaling 12 deaths since the outbreak in May.During this period, 45 specimens were taken and tested: 15 were positive, 8 negative and the rest are still pending.President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently said she is saddened by the fast pace at which the virus is spreading in the country, especially to other communities that were not previously affected. “And what this means is that our people are still not listening to the pieces of advice and instructions that are being given.”  Such instructions include constant hand washing; avoiding handshakes and touching in general; immediate reporting of cases of high fever, vomiting and bleeding; and avoiding touching anyone suspected to have the virus.Meanwhile it is being reported that nine members of a single family of 15 were being removed from the Macenta road community, in the capital Voinjama, to the Foya Care Center. This is, however, another worrying concern for the people of Voinjama City, as it wrestles in the grip of the virus.Macenta road community is located just after the Mandingo quarter where eight persons died few days ago, and is also a predominantly Mandingo community.According to sources, six members of this family of 15 had already died from the virus. The nine remaining family members were being taken to the Foya Care Center.President Sirleaf, while declaring a State of Emergency last week, said the Ebola threat continues to grow as a result of ignorance, poverty as well as entrenched religious and cultural practices. She indicated that these continue to exacerbate the spread of the disease, especially in the counties.The Liberian President added that actions allowed by statute under the public health law are no longer adequate to deal with the Ebola epidemic, as comprehensively and holistically, as the outbreak requires.The President noted that the scope and skills of the epidemic now exceed the capacity and statutory mandates of any one government agency or ministry. The Ebola virus disease, and the ramifications and the consequences thereof, now constitute an outright national calamity.Health authorities in Lofa County said due to the influx of suspected cases, patients are now being transported in pickup trucks, which have no sirens, rather than the ambulances, whose sirens are causing a lot of trauma for residents.Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Ebola Situation Report (SitRep) has recorded that since the outbreak of the virus in March to August 11, at least 149 confirmed deaths from 166 confirmed positive victims.Among the 149 have been 37 health workers out of 86, who now fallen prey to the virus.However, the SitRep lists total deaths in confirmed, probable and suspected cases as 355, for the record.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more