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
March 27, 2017 Press Release Harrisburg, PA – In support of the Employment First initiative to help people with disabilities find employment, Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced a new Vanpool Incentive Program to create vanpools across the state that would provide a lower-cost alternative for people to commute to work.“Transportation access can be a deciding factor in whether someone is able to work, so anything we can do to expand options is good for Pennsylvanians,” Governor Wolf said. “No matter their abilities, people should have access to jobs that pay.”The program will invest up to $1 million annually and is open to government entities, non-profit entities and transportation companies. Approved vanpools will be offered an initial 50-percent cost incentive, up to $800 per vanpool per month based on van size, that is phased out over three years for non-ADA accessible vanpools.ADA-accessible vanpools would be eligible for a monthly subsidy up to $1,200 per van, and would be eligible for an ongoing $400-per-month subsidy after the third year. Participants would also be eligible for state investments to cover the cost to convert a van to be ADA-accessible.“Although public transportation is available in some form in every Pennsylvania county, we’re always looking for new ways to efficiently provide and expand transportation options,” PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards said. “We strongly encourage participation in this new program.”To qualify for the program, entities must create a new vanpool that has not operated previously to or from the identified destination or origin point. The vanpool must also have at least an expected 60-percent occupancy: five riders for seven-person vans; seven riders for 10-person vans; nine riders for 12-person vans (including ADA); and 11 riders for 15-person vans.To ensure proof of membership, vanpool riders will pay a minimum of $25 per month, with the final cost determined by providers.When officially opened in May, the application period will be announced via the Pennsylvania Bulletin. PennDOT expects to select the first vanpool program participants in the 2017-18 state fiscal year. Agencies or providers interested in the program may email [email protected] for more information. Wolf Administration Works to Expand Vanpool Options for Workers, Assist Persons with Disabilities SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has published “The Metocean Plan”, authored by the UK-based Carbon Trust, which was supported by Frazer Nash Consultancy. The plan aims to support developers and financiers with the deployment of floating Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) solutions.The Carbon Trust said that, by building on experience gained over a decade working in the European market, it has generated guidance for NYSERDA on how to deploy cost effective wind resource measurement technology to generate bankable data to improve project financing of future offshore wind developments.Floating LiDARs are a proven technology which delivers cost savings of up to 90 per cent compared to traditional fixed met masts, the Carbon Trust stated.NYSERDA is the lead agency coordinating offshore wind development on behalf of New York State, which will support the ambitious Clean Energy Standard to meet 50 per cent of New York’s electricity needs with renewable sources by 2030. In support of the Governor’s proposal, NYSERDA continues to work closely with coastal communities and the fishing and maritime industries to identify offshore wind sites to be included in New York State’s Offshore Wind Master Plan.Recommendations detailed in the newly-released plan cover all aspects of deployment including project management set up and operations and maintenance of the devices themselves. Site specific elements such as New York permitting requirements and the current lack of offshore met masts to validate a floating LiDAR in New York waters are also considered.The plan draws on recent publications from the OWA, including the OWA Floating LiDAR Recommended Practice.NYSERDA also sought public feedback on the plan to ensure the final plan reflected views of wider stakeholders.The Metocean Plan is available online at NYSERDA’s website.
HealthInternationalLifestylePrint WHO ‘increasingly worried about Zika’ by: (Belfast Telegraph) – May 17, 2016 Share Tweet Share 70 Views no discussions Sharing is caring! A health worker sprays insecticide to combat the mosquitoes that transmit the Zika virus in Brazil (AP)(Belfast Telegraph) The World Health Organisation is increasingly concerned about the Zika virus but does not recommend cancelling or postponing the Olympic Games in Brazil this summer.The organisation’s director general, Dr Margaret Chan, said: “The more we learn about Zika, the more worried we get about it.”But she added that she would be going to the Games in Rio de Janeiro herself.Ms Chan noted that although Zika has been around for decades, it is only recently that the virus has been proven to cause severe birth defects and neurological problems – including in newborn children.She reiterated the UN health agency’s advice that pregnant women should not travel to Brazil, which has by far the biggest number of Zika cases.She said the agency was recommending that both Olympic athletes and travellers to Rio take measures to prevent being bitten by the mosquitoes that spread Zika. But she did not see a reason why the Olympics – which are expected to draw about 500,000 people to Brazil – should be moved.She said: “You don’t want to bring a standstill to the world’s movement of people. This is all about risk assessment and risk management.”Ms Chan said she agreed with the WHO’s Zika response chief Bruce Aylward, who said earlier this year that Rio will host a “fantastic” Games.In February, WHO declared the explosive outbreak of Zika to be a global health emergency and the virus has now spread to nearly 60 countries.The agency is constantly monitoring its evolution, and could change its advice to travellers depending on how Zika progresses, according to WHO officials.Some experts have called for this year’s Olympics, which run from August 5-21, to be moved or delayed to prevent the avoidable birth of brain-damaged babies. They also warn that the Rio Olympics could spark new Zika outbreaks in other countries and speed up the virus’s international spread.Ms Chan said Olympic athletes were getting advice from their national medical advisers, singling out Australia as one country that has issued “very positive” guidelines to its Olympics team. Other countries are taking measures such as providing protective clothing, window screens and air conditioning “to minimize the risk”, she said.Australia’s medical director for the Olympic team said last week that the risk of Zika to athletes was “minimal” and that the last people he had spoken to who had been to Rio recently had not even seen a mosquito.Ms Chan was speaking ahead of next week’s World Health Assembly, a crucial WHO annual event that draws more than 3,500 delegates and address six dozen topics – including resistance to antimicrobial drugs, a global shortage of medicines and vaccines and maternal health.Despite Ms Chan’s concern about the Zika outbreak, not a single session at next week’s meeting is focused on the virus, even though Zika is expected to come up in a number of discussions at the assembly. Share