Study says H5N1 has varied effects in small land birds

first_imgOct 18, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – A study on the effects of the H5N1 avian influenza virus on small land birds suggests it is often lethal in sparrows but has lesser effects on starlings and pigeons and does not readily spread to other birds of the same species.However, the researchers say their findings also suggest that sparrows and starlings could potentially spread the virus to poultry and mammals.The results of the study, conducted at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, were published early online by Emerging Infectious Diseases.Scientists have fleshed out some H5N1 patterns in waterfowl species, which have been shown to shed the virus for prolonged periods and are thought to play some role—along with the poultry business—in the geographic spread among the world’s poultry populations. However, less is known about small terrestrial birds, which also intermingle with waterfowl and poultry.To gauge how the H5N1 virus behaves in small birds, the researchers inoculated sparrows, starlings, and pigeons with four different strains that were isolated from birds. Two of the strains had previously been shown to infect waterfowl in Thailand, and two were recently isolated during wild-bird surveillance in Hong Kong.The sparrows and starlings used in the study were captured in the wild, while 6-week old Carneux pigeons were bought from supply houses. At the start of the study, the authors obtained cloacal swabs from the birds to rule out existing influenza A infections.After the birds were inoculated with the H5N1 strains, researchers placed them in cages with uninfected birds of the same species for 14 days to gauge virus transmission. The ratio of infected to uninfected birds was 1:1 for sparrows and starlings and 2:3 for pigeons.The birds were monitored each day for death and illness, and oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs were collected on days 2, 4, 6, 8, and 11 for sparrows and starlings and on days 3, 5, and 7 for pigeons. At the end of the 14-day period, the investigators collected serum samples from the inoculated and contact birds for hemagglutanin-inhibition testing.Death rates were highest for the sparrows: 66% to 100% of them died, depending on the H5N1 strain they received. High viral loads were detected in dead sparrows’ brain and lung tissues. However, none of the starlings or pigeons died.Regular testing after inoculation showed that all of the sparrows and starlings were infected, but infection in pigeons depended on the strain of the virus. One of the Hong Kong strains infected both sparrows and starlings, as well as all of the inoculated pigeons, though the authors found the viruses replicated relatively poorly in the pigeons.Virus titers showed sparrows and starlings shed similar amounts of the virus, but titers from cloacal swabs of sparrows were higher than those from the starlings.The researchers found no evidence of spread of the virus among the sparrows and pigeons. Only one starling showed evidence of transmission, involving one of the Hong Kong strains.The authors concluded that that the birds varied in their susceptibility to the H5N1 viruses but that transmission to the contact birds was infrequent.Compared to earlier reports on the susceptibility of sparrows, starlings, and pigeons to a 1997 Hong Kong H5N1 virus, the current study suggests that the bird species are more susceptible to the more recent H5N1 isolates used in the study.”Although drawing conclusions on the basis of a single 1997 isolate is inappropriate, these data are consistent with studies that have demonstrated increased virulence or host range for recent influenza [H5N1] viruses in mammalian species,” the authors write.A key question is whether smaller wild birds can be intermediate hosts or long-term reservoirs for the H5N1 virus, the researchers point out. The results in sparrows suggest that they could potentially infect poultry and mammals, but, given the high death rate, wouldn’t likely serve as a reservoir for prolonged viral shedding. Starlings, because they survived and shed the virus longer, could act as an intermediate host, but transmission evidence in the study was limited, the report says. The authors suggest that the role of pigeons in spreading the virus may be minor because they shed only small amounts of the virus and didn’t transmit the disease to other pigeons.The researchers conclude that terrestrial wild bird species vary considerably in their susceptibility to H5N1 virus strains, and some species, such as sparrows, could suffer substantial losses during H5N1 outbreaks. Also, they write that mutations in circulating H5N1 viruses could enhance the role of sparrows and starlings as intermediate hosts.Boon ACM, Sandbulte MR, Seiler P, et al. Role of terrestrial wild birds in ecology of influenza A virus (H5N1). Emerg Infect Dis 2007 Nov 13(11) [Full text]last_img read more

Youth Summer Series 2011 organized to strengthen family bonds

first_img Share EducationLocalNewsPrimarySecondary Youth Summer Series 2011 organized to strengthen family bonds by: – July 22, 2011 Sharing is caring! 51 Views   no discussions Tweetcenter_img Share Share Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Valda Henry.Chief Executive Officer of VF Incorporated, Dr. Valda Henry says the Youth Summer Series 2011 gears at strengthening family bonds. Dr. Henry told media reporters earlier this week that parents are encouraged to come to the sessions with their children, particularly on the hike of Segment II of the Waitukubuli National Trail.“We really want to encourage parents to come to that walk because I see that as a time for bonding with your children; those where the bonds are fractured for healing, those where the bonds are so fragile to build those bonds. Because on that walk, where you are walking hand in hand, helping your child along the way or your child helping you along the way I think can just create such great bonds for families and we really encourage parents to come. Our Youth Series is really meant at the young people but it is also meant for families, strengthening the bond,” Dr. Henry said.Dr. Henry also highlighted that the Youth Series focuses on the positive characteristics which they youths possess and help strengthening these areas.“At the Youth Series we don’t judge, there’s no judgment; there’s no student that’s too bad. We don’t focus on what you don’t have, we focus instead on the goodness in you and we ask you to strengthen and bring out more of that goodness” she said.Dr. Henry encourages persons to “speak positive words as they can make a difference even if it is to one person. Words are so powerful, and that’s why we really should speak positive words; that are what the Youth Series is all about,” Dr. Henry said.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more

Court ‘Lashes’ BOTA in US$19M Tax Case

first_imgFailure of the Board of Tax Appeal (BOTA) to resolve a US$19.2 million “tax fraud” complaint brought against the Ministry of Finance (MOF) by Lonestar Communication Corporation, (LCC) prompted a Tax Court Judge to caution the Board’s existence, after reviewing the ruling.BOTA was established in 2009 by the government to hear complains growing out of Ministry of Finance (MOF) audits of business and other tax payers.In reviewing BOTA’s ruling in March 2014,  Judge Mozart A. Chesson said, “the court must caution BOTA to remember that it is not a mediator, but an adjudicator, as complained by LCC.”He went on to say that “BOTA directed the parties to “walk together” to resolve their differences. The parties came to BOTA, because they had been unable to resolve the differences,” adding, “They should not have dodged a responsibility that is the primary reason for Bota’s very existence: an obligation to reach a final decision.”Judge Chesson concluded, “The appeal is hereby dismissed because of a lack of jurisdiction of this court to entertain a matter in which a final decision had not yet been rendered. The matter is remanded to BOTA for a resumption of its hearing.”In January 2013, MOF informed LCC that its forensic investigation discovered that LCC during the period of 2007 to 2011, that LCC had engaged in a series of tax fraud, to the tune of US$19.2 million. The MOF had demanded that LCC made available its business records, in connection with 11 business transactions.But, LCC objected, claiming that MOF already had given them a tax clearance for those years in question.Lonestar filed an appeal to BOTA, requesting an emergency hearing.But at the hearing, MOF did not produce the forensic evidence it relied on, when it accused LCC of tax fraud; nor did it submit or explain its calculation of the US$19.2 million re-assessed tax bill. BOTA ordered the ministry to submit said evidence within 72 hours, so that LCC could access that information; Bota also ordered the two parties to work together over the next 30 days to resolve and dispute.In that ruling, BOTA did not specify whether the parties were to return to them, after the 30 days with the result of their discussion.It was based on that ruling that LCC prayed the Court for review.In their complained, LCC argued that BOTA’s ruling was not in  fact final, because it dispose of nothing, thereby leaving all issues unresolved, and no option than to appeal to the Court.LCC further argued that charged with fraud as it was, the burden of proof rested on the ministry. The ministry, LCC pointed out, had failed to present and prove any of their allegations, when the case was brought before BOTA.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more