Jun 1, 2006 (CIDRAP news) – The European Commission (EC) reported yesterday that 741 cases of H5N1 avian influenza have been detected among about 60,000 wild birds tested in European Union states since February.The EC presented its data during the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)/World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) International Scientific Conference on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds, which concluded yesterday in Rome.In other news from the 2-day conference, scientists reported that the spread of avian influenza has been aided by the legal and illegal trade in wild birds, according to news agencies. Meanwhile, experts are trying to define the role that migratory birds play.The EC and the Community Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza in Weybridge, UK, began testing wild birds in all European Union (EU) states in July 2005. The EC, in a press release yesterday, said that, though final figures are still being collected for recent months, 741 wild birds in 13 member states tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza between February and May 21 of this year. Most of those were confirmed to be H5N1 cases. About 60,000 birds were tested in that period, and about 99,000 over the entire 10 months of testing.Germany had the most cases, with 326, followed by Austria (117), Poland (64), France (62), and Denmark (42), the EC reported. EU member states reporting from 1 to 32 positive tests were the United Kingdom, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Slovenia, Sweden, and Greece.Cases of H5N1 peaked in March, with 362, and have gradually declined since then, with 162 in April and 17 in the first 3 weeks of May, according to the EC. The third week of February was the most active week, logging 116 cases, while February as a whole witnessed 200 cases.Swans made up 62.8% of the wild birds found to be infected, the EC said. Other kinds included ducks, 16.3%; geese, 4.5%; birds of prey, 3.9%, and various others, 13%.The EC said only four outbreaks of H5N1 avian flu have been found in domestic poultry in the EU, and all were swiftly eradicated. Romania, which has reported numerous poultry outbreaks in recent weeks, is not an EU member.”Extensive surveillance for avian influenza in wild birds and poultry has been one of the key tools used by the EU to fend off the virus over the past months,” said EC Commissioner for Health and Human Protection Markos Kyprianou in the press release. “We cannot let our guard down when it comes to avian influenza, as it is likely to remain a threat for Europe and the rest of the world for many months to come.”Animal trade and avian flu spreadScientists at the Rome FAO/OIE conference cited the legal and illegal trade of wild birds as playing a significant role in spreading avian influenza, according to a report yesterday from Bloomberg news service.”We have to focus on this issue of trade, because it’s the most frequent way of spreading disease from one region to another,” said FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech in the Bloomberg story. “This includes legal and illegal trade, which is quite significant and often ignored.”The Bloomberg report said that each year about 350 million live animals are moved worldwide to become pets or serve other domestic needs, at a cost of about $20 billion. About a fourth of these animals are transported and sold illegally, according to the story.”Focusing efforts at markets to regulate, reduce, or, in some cases, eliminate the trade in wildlife could provide a cost-effective approach to decrease the risks in disease for humans, domestic animals, and wildlife,” Domenech told Bloomberg.Domenech, according to an Agence France-Press (AFP) story from yesterday, also discussed the role of migratory birds. The main problem, he said, is that scientists don’t know with certainty whether wild birds can act as long-term reservoirs for H5N1.”We still have a long way to go to fully understand the disease,” he said in the AFP story. “Before saying there is no role for wild birds in Africa, we should be careful. We have to wait a little bit.”Domenech told AFP that one of the main achievements of the Rome conference was to gather people from the poultry trade, wildlife experts, and policy makers to begin a discussion on how avian flu travels long distances.”We have identified gaps and the need to continue and intensify research, in particular with regards to the species which can be involved [in spreading the virus],” Domenech told AFP.See also:European Commission press release
The St. Louis Blues are the 2019 Stanley Cup champions. I repeat, the St. Louis Blues are the 2019 Stanley Cup champions — and, just as we were on March 29 when they clinched a playoff spot, we’re a little surprised. June 12The Blues lifted the Cup for the first time after getting that fourth win, a 4-1 Game 7 triumph over the Bruins in Boston, the city where Bobby Orr broke the franchise’s young hearts 49 years earlier. This time, St. Louis took a 2-0 lead in the first period and never let the B’s get back into the contest. They iced the title with two more goals in the third.Every season has a Cinderella team, a team with an amazing story. Worst-to-first St. Louis was the team this year. The glass slipper fits.SN’s Tom Gatto contributed to this report. Craig Berube on clinching a playoff spot: “It’s a big thing, where we were and where we are now, but we’re not finished.” #stlblues pic.twitter.com/87ImXARqO6— x – St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) March 30, 2019Why, you may ask? Well, before games were played Jan. 3 — yes, Jan. 3, 2019 — the team from Missouri was last in the NHL and 11 points behind the Anaheim Ducks for the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Now, St. Louis is bringing Cup back to its home state.MORE: Get Blues championship gearWhat a long strange trip this season has been for the Blues:Nov. 20Before we can even start with how this happened, we need to go all the way back to November with the firing of coach Mike Yeo and the promotion of associate Craig Berube . “Chief” took over a team that was 7-9-3.At the time, people thought Joel Quenneville, who was let go by the Chicago Blackhawks two weeks earlier, would be tapped, given that he had previously coached the Blues for parts of eight seasons (1996-2004). Nope. Quenneville was enjoying tailgating with Bears fans and looked content to be off the bench, so Berube was chosen to fill in and finish out what was looking like a lost season.Dec. 10If things couldn’t get any worse for St. Louis, teammates fought at practice. Not a good look for a team well outside the playoff race and losers of eight of their last 11. Robert Bortuzzo and Zach Sanford dropped the gloves at #STLBlues practice today.(via @Avery_188 ) pic.twitter.com/7rLxpies6g— Sporting News Canada (@sportingnewsca) December 10, 2018Robert Bortuzzo, who fought Zach Sanford, reflected on the incident March 25 with Blues radio analyst Joey Vitale on “The Late Shift””It’s something that happens in our game. It’s nothing I’m proud of and something that I don’t want to be doing,” he said. “But it had nothing to do with (Sanford). We’re good friends and it was just a sequence of events that led to something unfortunate.”Jan. 3As stated above, the season was looking grim on this date. Before games started that Thursday night, St. Louis was 15-18-4 (34 points) with a minus-21 goal differential and dead last in the league.That night, the Blues went out and beat the reigning Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals 5-2. Sure, one game doesn’t turn the tide, but maybe Bortuzzo dropping the gloves with Tom Wilson — who was suspended earlier in the season for 14 games for a dirty hit on Oskar Sundqvist — played a role. MORE: How ‘Play Gloria’ became the Blues’ rallying cryJan. 5St. Louis recalled 25-year-old goaltender Jordan Binnington from San Antonio (AHL). Two days later, he made his first start of the season and his career. The rest has been history.Beginning with his 3-0 shutout of the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 7, the 2011 draft pick has posted a 21-5-1 record with an impressive 1.78 goals-against average and .932 save percentage.Jordan Binnington of the @StLouisBlues became the 35th goaltender in League history to register a shutout in his first career NHL start and the eighth to do so in the past 15 years. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/XipaVcRYIQ— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 8, 2019Jordan Binnington notched his first NHL start and shutout on the same day he was announced @theAHL player of the week.You could say last week was pretty good to him 👍 pic.twitter.com/R4hUT5UHav— San Antonio Rampage (@sarampage) January 10, 2019Binnington, who eventually took over the No. 1 spot from Jake Allen, has had his name thrown into the Calder Trophy and, dare we say, Vezina Trophy debates. He has earned Player of the Week honors twice this season (second star on Jan. 14; first star on Feb. 11) and was the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for February.Jan. 23-Feb. 19Twenty-eight days. In just 28 calendar days, the Blues changed their season.After losing 4-3 to the Kings on Jan. 21, St. Louis went on a tear, winning a franchise-record 11 consecutive games. After going from a game under. 500 (21-22-5) to 10 games over (32-22-5), the Blues were suddenly in a playoff spot and poised to make the postseason for the 42nd time in franchise history. The streak included wins over the Tampa Bay Lightning (1-0 in overtime) and Toronto Maple Leafs (3-2 in overtime) and back-to-back victories over the Nashville Predators (3-2 in regulation and 5-4 in overtime), who, as of now, look to be the Blues’ first-round opponent in the playoffs.Over the course of those 11 games, St. Louis went 493 minutes and 42 seconds without trailing. Rookie sensation Binnington won nine in a row — tied for fifth-most by a rookie netminder in NHL history. The team’s points leader, Ryan O’Reilly, scored 12 points. Vladimir Tarasenko notched an awe-inspiring 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists). Tarasenko, whose name was in the trade rumor mill in the beginning of January , was named the NHL’s third star of the month for February.March 7Things were looking up even more when Brayden Schenn was activated March 6 from injured reserve after missing the previous six games with an upper-body injury. Just a day later, things took a turn and the Cinderella season looked to be in peril.Leading goal-scorer Tarasenko suffered an upper-body injury during a 4-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in which he scored the 28th goal of his season. The team announced he would be out for 10 days . The Blues went 1-2-2 in the five games he missed and were outscored 13-11, with five of the team’s goals coming in the lone victory, 5-1 over the Pittsburgh Penguins.March 19The Blues got healthy. Tarasenko returned, and as if in direct correlation, the team won four in a row, including victories over the Lightning and the Vegas Golden Knights. Just three nights before Tarasenko’s return, David Perron returned to the lineup after missing 24 games with an upper-body injury. In the seven games since his return, he has seven points (four goals, three assists). He also closed out a remarkable streak in his fourth game back, March 21 against the Detroit Red Wings.David Perron recorded the fourth instance in @StLouisBlues franchise history of a player recording at least one point in 17 consecutive appearances, joining Brett Hull (25 GP in 1991-92, 20 GP in 1989-90) and Blake Dunlop (19 GP in 1981-82). #NHLStats #DETvsSTL pic.twitter.com/yvSRpeYMU2— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 22, 2019March 29Welcome to the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs, St. Louis! You did it! WE’RE IN!!!! https://t.co/aAjs9kXe6a #stlblues pic.twitter.com/eYrWzpq7Om— x – St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) March 30, 2019Despite losing to the New York Rangers on March 29, the Blues clinched when the Arizona Coyotes lost to the Colorado Avalanche in a shootout.Since that key Jan. 3 date, St. Louis went 30-10-5 to close out the regular season and become the seventh team since expansion in 1967 (which was also when the Blues joined the NHL) to make the postseason after being in last place after New Year’s Day. Those 30 wins were also the second-most in the NHL since Jan. 1.May 21It took 49 years — or exactly 17,908 days since May 10, 1970 — but the St. Louis Blues are back in the Stanley Cup Final. As it so hapens, the last franchise they faced in the Stanley Cup Final is the same one they’ll face this time — the Boston Bruins. The moment that’s a half-century in the making! pic.twitter.com/Ws9k3WrYxV— St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) May 22, 2019After defeating the Winnipeg Jets in six games, the Dallas Stars in seven and the San Jose Sharks in six in the West playoffs, the Blues are just four wins away from the first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history.