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UK: H5N1 outbreak may be linked to wild birds, lax biosecurity

first_imgNov 29, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The initial epidemiologic report, released today, on the United Kingdom’s recent outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza in Suffolk said the source of the virus is unknown but could have been wild birds.The 24-page report from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), released on the department’s Web site, said the H5N1 virus infected poultry at the Redgrave Farm facility near Diss, then was transmitted by vehicles, people, or other means to a second farm owned by the same company.The outbreak was confirmed at the first farm on Nov 13 and at the second farm 6 days later, according to previous reports.Investigators have so far ruled out the possibility that infected poultry or poultry products, or the vehicles or people transporting them from other counties, played a role in spreading the virus to the commercial farm, which housed turkeys, ducks, and geese.”Wild birds cannot be ruled out as a source of infection,” DEFRA said in a press release today. “To date, there is no evidence of H5N1 infection in the local wild bird population or in GB [Great Britain] as a whole, but the continued surveillance may help clarify the infection status of the wild bird population.”Among other details in the report, most of the infected birds on the first farm were turkeys, but a few ducks were sick as well. The findings suggest an initial introduction of the virus into one of the groups of turkeys, rather than widespread exposure of poultry on the farm.Genetic analysis of virus samples from birds on the two affected farms revealed that the birds were infected from a single source and that the virus most closely resembled an isolate from wild birds from the Czech Republic that was detected in mid 2007, the report said.The isolate is distinct from the one involved in a February H5N1 outbreak at the Bernard Matthews turkey farm in Holton.Samples from poultry on the farms that supplied birds to the two Redgrave Farm facilities tested negative, and all of the birds were hatched in Great Britain, the report said.Investigators identified two key biosecurity concerns. One was that farm workers who traveled between the facilities did not follow simple measures such as changing clothing, disinfecting their boots, and sanitizing the feed buckets they carried to feed birds. Another was that the first affected farm, a free-range facility, was likely to attract not only migratory waterfowl from a nearby ornamental farm but also “bridge” species such as gulls.DEFRA said its surveillance, testing, and epidemiologic work on the outbreak was continuing.See also:Nov 15 CIDRAP News story “H5N1 suspected at second British farm”last_img read more

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Australia says borders likely to stay closed until 2021

first_imgTopics : “We can simply work through the 14-day quarantine periods that have worked so well in terms of returning Australians to this country safely,” Birmingham said in a speech to the National Press Club.The return of international students will be a boost for universities facing big financial losses with the border closed as international education is Australia’s fourth-largest foreign exchange earner, worth A$38 billion ($26.14 billion) a year.Australia has had more than 7,300 cases of the coronavirus and 102 people have died from COVID-19, the disease it causes.It recorded its biggest daily rise in new infections in more than a month on Wednesday, with the most of them in Victoria, the second most populous state.Victoria reported 21 new cases overnight, of which 15 are returned travellers in quarantine, taking the total tally for the day to 22 cases, with some states yet to report their data. Australia is unlikely to reopen its border to international travellers until next year but will look to relax entry rules for students and other long-term visitors, Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said on Wednesday.Australia has been largely successful in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus, which it attributes to curbs on international travel and tough social-distancing rules.Birmingham said a quarantine rule for returning citizens could be applied to international students and other visitors who plan to stay for a long period of time.last_img read more

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Workers cottage transformed in to statement home

first_imgThe floating staircase makes a statementThe interiors have been inspired by the Hamptons, French Provincial and Plantation styles, and the house will feature in Home Beautiful magazine in December.It is is easy to see why. The house before the renovation Snoopy doesn’t mind the oustide entertaining area either.Just some of the features include exterior wooden fretwork that is dotted with tiny handcrafted trees inspired by a boutique hotel in Byron Bay which adds a resort-like feel.There is French Oak Wildwood aged timber parquetry flooring laid in a basket weave pattern that leads to a floating staircase.All up, the impressive renovation took about a year. The ultra chic house in Paddington is listed with Ray White New Farm agent, Christine Rudolph, and will be auctioned on-site on November 3. A bathroom before the renovation …More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus16 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market16 hours ago The kitchen during the demolition … And then after the transformation.Ms Winter owns Chasing Winter, an interior styling business, and runs shopping tours to Bali for people to source their own furnishings. This is one of a number of renovations the couple have done since moving to Brisbane from New Zealand. It is not a humble little cottage anymore.FASHION and interior stylist Natalie Winter is selling her Paddington property, which has been transformed from a workers cottage in to a stunning statement home.Ms Winter and her husband Gerry Heffernan, bought 45 Hayward St in 2013 and have since tripled its size. And the house today — mind blown!“When we started it was 100sq m under roof and nothing much to look at but we fell in love with the house for its good bones and we have 40 linear metres of street frontage which is amazing,” she said. And after the renovation.Ms Winter said it was a bold move to turn the cottage into a five bedroom, four bathroom, grand house on that block.last_img read more

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Flex-fuel contract was no gift

first_imgHad California not changed its policy to allow for the purchase of E85 vehicles, the state would have risked significant fines from the federal government. The editorial also claimed that the state’s E85 vehicles have never been fueled with ethanol. This is not true. In 2006 alone, the state used 8,000 gallons of E85 fuel and will use well over 20,000 gallons in 2007. The pilot program mentioned in the editorial was an agreement between Caltrans, the California Environmental Protection Agency, the Air Resources Board, Chevron and GM – the Department of General Services was not part of the program. Because the department’s Procurement Division is responsible for buying vehicles in accordance with state competitive bidding laws, and DGS Fleet Administration approves the purchase of state vehicles, DGS could not participate in the pilot program. This makes it impossible, as your editorial suggests, for the state to have agreed to buy flex-fuel vehicles from GM before the bid was issued, since DGS – the agency responsible for procurement – had no role in the program. The state’s flex-fuel program was conducted publicly and yielded results that are remarkably consistent with that which has been in place for years. As director of the department responsible for ensuring a fair and open bidding process on state contracts, I am proud of our civil servants who work every day to ensure that the integrity and objectivity of the process is protected. Readers of the Daily Breeze and all Californians can be assured that DGS officials have always and will continue to conduct fair and open bidding processes in accordance with the law. Will Bush is director of California’s Department of General Services.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The 2006 alternative-fuel vehicle contract issued by the state Department of General Services was a normal invitation for bid. This process automatically selects the lowest bidder. While GM was the only manufacturer to bid on the E85 flex-fuel sedan class, it is common to have only one manufacturer represented in bids for vehicle contracts. For example, Honda has been the only bidder on the state’s compressed natural gas (CNG) passenger vehicles since 2002. And in 2002 and 2003, Ford was the only bidder on the same flex-fuel vehicle contract that GM is accused of getting unfairly in 2006. At the time, GM was the only manufacturer that made flex-fuel vehicles that were certified for sale in California by the California Air Resources Board. All vehicles sold in California must go through this testing and certification process – it is not just a requirement for vehicles purchased by the state, as suggested in the editorial. The state amended its vehicle purchase policy in 2006 after a deliberative process that revealed the following: The state would likely fail to meet federal Energy Policy Act regulations unless we added E85 flex-fuel vehicles to the annual contract. The federal law requires 75 percent of light-duty and passenger vehicles purchased by state governments every year to be alternative-fuel vehicles, or AFVs. Before the policy change, the state prohibited the purchase of alternative-fuel vehicles that did not have ready access to alternative fuel. Due to diminished demand, automakers had stopped making the bi-fuel CNG vehicle, which had been the mainstay of the state’s ability to meet Energy Policy Act regulations. As a result, the General Services staff recognized the need to replace the bi-fuel CNG model and resume purchasing E85 vehicles, which had been purchased from Ford in 2002 and 2003. Editor’s note: The editorial discussed in this column was based on news accounts about California’s flex-fuel program. By Will Bush The Daily Breeze’s Thursday editorial, “State flex-fuel program takes odd turns,” contained inaccuracies about the state’s flex-fuel vehicle fleet and the 2006 state contract with General Motors to supply the fleet with flex-fuel E85 vehicles. First and most important, there is no link between the governor’s relationship to General Motors and our purchasing decisions. The Governor’s Office did not direct us to any manufacturer, and we did not agree to buy flex-fuel vehicles from GM before we issued the bid. last_img read more