Avian flu hits ostriches in South Africa

first_imgAug 6, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – South Africa has stopped all poultry exports and plans to slaughter 6,000 ostriches on two farms because of an avian influenza outbreak, but the flu is a different strain from the one that has plagued Southeast Asia this year, according to news services.Reports by Reuters and other services today listed the strain as H5N2. The virus that swept through Southeast Asia early this year and has recurred in several countries this summer is H5N1.The South African outbreak began about 3 weeks ago and has killed 2,000 ostriches on two farms in the Eastern Cape province, according to an SABC (South African Broadcasting Corp.) News report today. Authorities planned to kill the remaining 6,000 ostriches on the two farms, and farms in the surrounding area were under quarantine, the report said.The SABC story described the H5N2 virus found in the ostriches as “extremely infectious but not transferable to human beings and poultry.” The H5N1 strain in Asia earlier this year caused at least 34 human cases and killed 24 people.Reuters quoted the South Africa Department of Agriculture today as saying it has “stopped exports of poultry and poultry products from South Africa until the outbreak has been dealt with successfully.”A note posted yesterday on ProMED-mail, the online reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, said avian flu outbreaks in ostriches don’t necessarily affect poultry. The note, by a ProMed-mail moderator, said various low-pathogenic strains of avian flu infected ostriches in South Africa in 1991, 1992, 1994 and 1995. The first report of highly pathogenic avian flu in ostriches came from Italy in 2000, the note said.In other recent developments, a new avian flu outbreak was reported in Vietnam this week, according to Xinhua, China’s state news service. The Aug 3 report said the disease cropped up on a farm in the southern city of Can Tho. Including that outbreak, southern Vietnam has had outbreaks in 11 areas since late June, leading to the death of 63,000 chickens by disease or culling, the story said.See also:Aug 3 news release from South Africa National Department of Agriculturehttp://www.nda.agric.za/Aug 5 ProMED-mail postings on avian flu in South Africa, including note by ProMED moderatorlast_img read more

Greek shipper gets USCuba ferry service permit

first_imgGreek-owned United Caribbean Lines Florida has secured one of the first few licenses for the operation of coastal shipping services between the US and Cuba from the US Department of the Treasury, after about half a century without a service.United Caribbean is one of just four companies to have secured Washington’s consent to provide ferry services to Havana in the context of the thaw in relations between the US and Cuba. The company’s main shareholder Alexandros Panagopoulos told Kathimerini that “Cuba’s coastal shipping market has amazing potential for growth and a great amassed demand for trips to the US.”The son of Pericles Panagopoulos – founder of Blue Star Ferries and Super Fast Ferries (now under the control of Marfin Investment Group) – added that United Caribbean will start sailing to Cuba this fall, if not even earlier, expecting major traffic in terms of passengers as well as cargo.The ship to be used will link the major ports of Florida, such as Miami, Tampa Bay and Port Everglades, with Havana. Panagopoulos noted that the firm also hopes to also include ports in Mexico in the future, such as Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula.The firm intends to tap three markets: tourism traffic (albeit limited and highly regulated at this stage), cargo trucks and the Cuban diaspora in the US, which for decades has been deprived of such a link. Tourism from the US to Cuba may well be liberalized soon, according to sector experts.The capacity of the initial vessel to be used on the route will be around 1,500 passengers, with some 400 cabins available, although it is not clear whether this will concern a leased or company-owned ship. Depending on the success of the service and the progress in US-Cuban relations, Panagopoulos says that a second ship may also be added.Source: Kathimerini Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more