Nov 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”
Actuarial Association of Europe (AAE) – Michael Renz has been elected chair of the AAE, starting his one-year tenure last month. Renz was also chairman of the German Actuarial Association between 2009 and 2011. Philip Shier of Ireland was elected vice-chair. Christoph Krischanitz of Austria and Falco Valkenburg of the Netherlands were re-elected as chairs of the investment and financial risk committee and pensions committee, respectively, both for three years.KAS Bank – Petri Hofsté and Peter Borgdorff have been nominated as supervisors for the Dutch bank by its supervisory board. Their appointment will be ratified at an extraordinary general meeting later this year. The supervisory board said it aimed to appoint Borgdorff as chairman. Hofsté brings experience from KPMG and ABN Amro, as well as APG and De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), where she was chief financial risk officer. Borgdorff is director of PFZW and was previously a director of the Dutch association of industry-wide pension funds. Both nominees are independent of KAS Bank, and the DNB has given its approval.Société Générale Securities Services (SGSS) – Pascal Jacquemin has been appointed chief executive for the French bank’s German securities business. He replaces Frédéric Barroyer, who will be moved to another position within the company, the bank said. He started in his role in September and will report to global head of SGSS Bruno Prigent.BNP Paribas Investment Partners – Colin Harte has joined the French asset manager as a portfolio manager in its multi-asset team. He will report to CIO Colin Graham, head of the tactical asset allocation and research team. Harte spent 11 years at Baring Asset Management as director of fixed interest and currency. He has also been at Gartmore Investment Management and Norwich Union Investment Management, which became Aviva Investors.Capital Group – Álvaro Fernández Arrieta and Mario González Pérez are to head up the investment manager’s new office in Madrid as business development managers. Capital Group is a US-based manager with $1.4trn (€1.1trn) in assets. Fernández Arrieta joined from French manager Amundi Asset Management in July. González Pérez has been with Capital for more than 10 years.Pioneer Investments – Morten Simonsen has been hired to lead Pioneer’s new office in Denmark, joining as head of sales. Simonsen joins from PineBridge Investments in London, where he was head of the Nordic region. Prior to this, he was head of institutional sales at Alfred Berg Asset Management.J O Hambro – Bogdan Popescu as been hired as director of European sales for French-speaking Europe. He joins from Hilbert Investment Solutions, where he was head of marketing and client solutions. He has also had spells at Skandia Investment Group and East Capital Asset Management.Lincoln Pensions – Matthew Harrison has been appointed managing director of the covenant advisory firm, joining in December from EY, where he was director of its pensions advisory business. Lincoln Pensions, a wholly owned subsidiary of US group Lincoln International, recently rebranded its UK operations, leading to the addition in its management structure.Finisterre Capital – Christopher Buck has joined the asset manager as head of credit research. He joins from Barclays Capital, where he was head of corporate credit research for Latin America PFA, Pensioenfonds UWV, UK Pensions Regulator, Actuarial Association of Europe, KAS, Société Générale Securities Services, BNP Paribas Investment Partners, Capital Group, Pioneer, J O Hambro, Lincoln Pensions, Finisterre CapitalPFA – Henrik Heideby has resigned as chief executive after more than 13 years, sparking a search by the largest Danish pensions provider for his successor. He resigned to take on more directorships and provide strategic advice. The DKK425bn (€57bn) provider said Heideby planned to leave at the end of the year. The board said it had begun searching for a replacement and would appoint someone before the end of 2014.Pensioenfonds UWV – Peter Ploegsma, employer’s chairman of the €5bn pension fund of UWV, provider of employees’ insurance, has announced his departure on 1 December, following a change of employer. Ploegsma has been chairman for two and a half years. The pension fund’s board said it had entered discussions with the UWV about the appointment of a successor.UK Pensions Regulator (TPR) – Fred Berry has been appointed to the newly created role of lead investment consultant. Berry joins from Mercer, where he was a principal in its investment business. The newly created role adds to the regulator’s expertise in both defined benefit and defined contribution investments, it said.
Public schools in the Sunshine State will offer a new kind of class soon, based on a growing social issue.Under a mandate that the state’s Board of Education passed on Wednesday, schools will be required to deliver a minimum of five hours of mental health instruction beginning in 6th grade.Education officials proposed the change to the curriculum last month, after discussing it with First Lady Casey DeSantis. She has prioritized the problem on her agenda.The courses will be geared toward helping students to identify signs and symptoms of mental illness, as well as toward finding resources for battling depression or other issues. They will also learn how to help their peers who may be dealing with a mental health disorder.According to Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, “We are going to reinvent school-based mental-health awareness in Florida, and we will be the number one state in the nation in terms of mental health outreach and school safety, all because of the governor’s and First Lady’s remarkable vision.” He adds that additional changes related to mental health awareness are planned, but did not elaborate.School districts around the state will have the ability to choose the kinds of classes their students will be required to take. Topics to be addressed will include cyberbullying, suicide prevention, and the impact of substance abuse.Mrs. DeSantis says, “We know that 50 percent of all mental illness cases begin by age 14, so we are being proactive in our commitment to provide our kids with the necessary tools to see them through their successes and challenges. Providing mental health instruction is another important step forward in supporting our families.”The implementation date for the new courses, as well as any potential schedule changes needed to fit them in with existing classes, are still being worked out, a Board of Education spokesperson said.
By Alan BaldwinRIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) – As an African-American swimmer, Simone Manuel has carried a weight on her shoulders every time she steps onto the starting blocks.The gold medal placed around her neck on Thursday could help to lift it.Making history as the first black woman swimmer to win an individual Olympic title for the United States, Manuel spoke of her desire to change attitudes and addressed some of the issues head-on.“This medal is not just for me, it’s for some of the African-Americans that have come before me and have been inspirations and mentors to me,” she said after a dead-heat in the 100 metres freestyle final resulted in two gold being awarded. The other went to 16-year-old Canadian Penny Oleksiak.“I think it means a lot, especially what’s going on in the world today with some of the issues with police brutality,” she added, without going into detail.“I think that this win kind of helps bring hope and change to some of the issues that are going on.”A string of fatal shootings of black men and women by white police officers has triggered protests, some violent, across the United States in recent weeks.Manuel, 20, who comes from Houston and attends Stanford University, is one of two African-American women who qualified for the U.S. swim team – the other being Lia Neal who won a 4×100 freestyle relay bronze in Rio.Thursday’s final was only the third time two gold medals have been awarded as a result of a dead heat and it was fitting that the other recipient was another youngster breaking down the doors and redefining perceptions.Oleksiak, the first Olympic champion born in the 21st century, has now won four medals in Rio.Manuel said she hoped her first gold would bring change.“Just coming into this race tonight I kind of tried to take the weight of the black community off my shoulders, which is something I carry with me just being in this position,” said Manuel.“I do hope that it kind of goes away. I’m super glad with the fact that I can be an inspiration to others and hopefully diversify the sport.“But at the same time I would like there to be a day where there are more of us and it’s not ‘Simone the black swimmer’ because the title ‘black swimmer’ makes it seem like I’m not supposed to be able to win a gold medal, not supposed to be able to break records.”“I work just as hard as anyone else and I love this sport and I want to win just like everyone else.”