Jan 8, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Hong Kong government officials recently announced that a wild bird found dead near a busy shopping district on Dec 31 tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza.The infection in a scaly-breasted munia, a species often imported from mainland China and released in religious ceremonies, marks the first case found in Hong Kong since February 2006, according to reports published by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Hong Kong has reported no human H5N1 cases since 1997, when the virus first jumped to humans.The Hong Kong government’s Jan 6 press release on the H5N1 finding doesn’t specify if the virus was the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, but Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that it was.Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department (AFCD) announced Jan 4 that a preliminary test for the virus was positive and confirmatory tests were being conducted. AFP reported that the bird was the only one of 6 dead birds found that tested positive for the virus.A bird watcher from Hong Kong who posted an item yesterday on ProMED-mail, the Internet-based reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, said the scaly-breasted munia is not frequently seen in urban Hong Kong but is said to be one of the 2 species most commonly released during religious ceremonies at temples. The practice of releasing these birds is a concern, he said, because they’re not subject to the disease-prevention measures used with poultry, and sellers and buyers can come into contact with infected bird droppings.The Hong Kong AFCD, in a Jan 6 press release, advised the public not to release birds, because they have little chance of surviving in the wild. A department spokesperson said the AFCD has contacted community groups, including religious groups, to warn them about releasing birds.The statement did not refer specifically to the H5N1 case, but it said pet birds imported from mainland China must come from registered farms and be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate certifying that the birds have been quarantined and have tested negative for H5 avian flu viruses.Farms on the mainland that are allowed to export birds to Hong Kong are inspected by mainland authorities and occasionally by AFCD authorities and must have had no avian flu outbreaks in the past 180 days.The government said its records show that 38,000 munias, including white-backed and scaly-breasted ones, were imported into Hong Kong from the mainland in 2006. It added that the scaly-breasted Munia is a resident bird in Hong Kong and has been found all over the territory.A department spokesperson advised Hong Kong residents to avoid personal contact with wild birds and live poultry and to wash their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with birds.Meanwhile, in Vietnam, several ducks have died in the past few days in the southern province of Soc Trang, prompting concern about the further spread of avian flu. Xinhua, China’s official news agency, reported yesterday that specimens from the ducks were sent for avian flu testing.If tests are positive, Soc Trang will be the fourth province affected in the recent series of outbreaks, which started in early December in the south Mekong Delta provinces of Ca Mau and Bac Lieu, spreading to nearby Hau Giang province. OIE reports list 32 outbreaks during that period.Officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are in talks with the Vietnamese government about sending experts to investigate the source of the outbreaks, Voice of America News reported today.Aphaluck Bhatiasevi, a spokesperson for the FAO office in Hanoi, told VOA the outbreak isn’t surprising, because officials believe the virus is still present. “The information that we’ve got so far is that the recent outbreaks were triggered as a result of raising illegal ducks,” she said. In earlier news reports, officials blamed local animal health officials and farmers for not maintaining poultry vaccination programs and farmers for hatching poultry illegally.In December, an FAO-OIE crisis management team traveled to South Korea to investigate the H5N1 outbreaks in poultry that occurred south of Seoul in late November.See also:Jan 6 Hong Kong government press releasehttp://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200701/06/P200701060189.htmJan 6 Hong Kong press releasehttp://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200701/06/P200701060187.htmWikipedia photo of scaly-breasted muniahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaly-breasted_muniaJan 7 ProMed mail report on Hong Kong birdOIE reports on Vietnam 2006-07 outbreakhttp://www.oie.int/downld/AVIAN%20INFLUENZA/A2006_AI.php
Published on January 17, 2013 at 12:41 am Contact Jesse: firstname.lastname@example.org | @dougherty_jesse Related Stories Women’s lacrosse routs Jacksonville; Ice hockey falls at Mercyhurst; Track kicks off in Gotham Cup; Tennis loses at USF Facebook Twitter Google+ The final results from last year’s Cornell Upstate Challenge tell the entire story for the Syracuse track and field team.On the women’s side, Syracuse earned 88 points, good for third place behind Cornell (214) and Buffalo (150). On the men’s side, the team accumulated 97 points, again finishing third behind Cornell (246) and Buffalo (109). While there were personal victories for various Orange athletes, the day was characterized by Cornell’s dominance and Buffalo’s steady performance, two programs Syracuse frequently runs against.These results hardly bothered Syracuse at the time, and bother it even less now. The team will travel to the annual Upstate Challenge in Ithaca, N.Y., this Saturday, and runners and coaches alike are seeing the meet as an early season tune-up — and not much else.“This is really just a feeler out, almost like a preseason meet,” said SU head coach Chris Fox. “This isn’t a fast track so we’re not going to worry about speed. We’ll just give some young people the chance to get some experience before we go to Penn State.”Next weekend, the team will travel to University Park, Pa., for the Penn State National Open. Even with the Upstate Challenge in the schedule before then, runners have started to prepare for the Penn State National Open, and are looking at this weekend’s meet as an extension of their weekly practice schedule.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“You never want to look past a race,” said sophomore distance runner Andrew Bennison. “But this meet is very low-key, probably the most low-key of our indoor season.As a freshman last season, Bennison’s first indoor race of his collegiate career was at the Upstate Challenge, and while he does think of the meet fondly, he has no concrete goals going into it this time around.Graduate student Lauren Penney finished first in the women’s mile last weekend at the Gotham Cup. This weekend, she will rest her legs for Penn State like many of her older teammates, but she’s excited to see what the rest of the team can accomplish.“Team placing is not so much important in track, but I think some individuals can have some really good races this weekend.” Penney said. “We have a lot of runners who could do really well and it will be exciting to see them in their first races.” Comments
Wildlife officials in South Florida say they captured a giant Burmese python swimming about a mile off the coast of Biscayne Bay on Friday.The snake is categorized as an invasive species which has damaged our state’s swampland ecosystem. For example, foxes and cottontail rabbits have “effectively disappeared.”The one posted on Biscayne National Park’s Facebook page measured 11 feet long and weighed 31 pounds. Officials used a net to capture it. Researchers also believe that pythons have swum across the open saltwater of Florida Bay from around the Everglades to islands in the Florida Keys.