Jul 26, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed today that a 17-year-old boy who died on Jul 24 in the Phichit province of northern Thailand had H5N1 avian influenza, marking the country’s first case this year.The WHO statement said the case was confirmed by Thailand’s Ministry of Health. The country had not recorded a human H5N1 case since December; its toll now stands at 23 cases with 15 deaths.The boy lived in the Thap Khlo district, where he experienced symptoms on Jul 15 and was hospitalized Jul 20, the WHO said. The patient had buried dead chickens on Jul 10. His death comes amid several recent reports of mass poultry deaths in northern and central Thailand.Bloomberg News reported today that the patient had been in contact with fighting cocks that had not been declared to authorities for fear of culling; the fighting roosters are reported to be worth as much as $13,000. Thailand’s disease-control director said the boy also tested positive for dengue hemorrhagic fever, making his case unique, Bloomberg reported.H5N1 was detected in 31 dead chickens in the Bang Mulnarg district of the Phichit province, according to a report that a Thai livestock official filed Jul 24 with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Several media outlets have reported suspicious poultry deaths in other nearby provinces, including Phitsanulok and Uttaradit.Thai health officials have placed several other people from Phichit province under quarantine, according to an article today in The Nation, a Thai newspaper. Four are members of a family whose chickens tested positive for the H5N1 virus. A veterinarian told The Nation that the family raised 268 fighting cocks, which started to die on Jul 15. Another patient is an 11-year-old girl who lived near the family and developed a flu-like illness after touching a dead chicken.Officials in Chiang Mai, the largest city in northern Thailand, have suspended cockfighting until further notice, The Nation reported. The country’s agriculture minister recently announced bans on poultry imports and the transport of birds.According to the OIE, the Phichit Provincial Livestock Office declared the Bang Mulnarg district an avian flu–infected area, which allows officials to conduct full-scale disease control efforts, including culling, quarantine, screening, and disinfection of affected sites.In other news, China has invited the United Nations to observe tests it will run to verify a June report by Chinese scientists that a man who died in 2003 had the H5N1 virus, according to a Reuters report today. The scientists’ report has fueled speculation about how many human H5N1 cases might have been missed or not reported in China before 2005, when the country reported its first case. Following the scientists’ report, Chinese officials said they would investigate the case.Avian flu scare in US hospitalIn the United States, a 207-bed hospital in Carrollton, Tex., had a real-life test of its avian flu preparedness when an elderly woman who had recently spent a month in an area of Vietnam where human cases had occurred stumbled through the doors. WFAA TV in Dallas-Ft. Worth reported yesterday that within seconds of noting the patient’s recent travel history, the intake nurse rushed the woman to the emergency department, where she underwent a rapid flu test.When the test came back positive, the hospital staff alerted its infection control staff and Texas health officials, the story said. The woman was placed in an infectious-disease room with ventilation controls, while a state trooper rushed her test samples to a lab in Ft. Worth.Within 6 hours, the woman was diagnosed with ordinary flu. The hospital’s infection control director, Eileen McClachlan, told WFAA that the hospital staff was pleased that they knew what to do quickly when a patient’s symptoms and history suggested possible avian flu. “But they were also very nervous that this could be the beginning of avian influenza in the United States,” she said.Businesses urged to prepareMeanwhile, a US government official urged businesses to prepare for a possible avian flu outbreak. According to an Agence France Presse report yesterday, Rajeev Vankayya, a White House biodefense policy advisor, warned those attending a US Chamber of Commerce meeting in Washington that an outbreak would affect their businesses.At the conference, businesses were advised to improve hygiene measures, develop telecommuting plans, and determine how to keep key business units functioning in the event of a flu pandemic.The story said Lynn Slepski, a Department of Homeland Security official, told those at the meeting, “We won’t be able to stop the disease at the borders. We can’t depend on that. So plan!”See also:Jul 26 WHO update on Thai situationhttp://www.who.int/entity/csr/don/2006_07_26/en/index.htmlJul 24 CIDRAP News story “Thailand faces renewed avian flu fight”Jul 24 OIE notice on H5N1 in poultry in Thailandhttp://www.oie.int/downld/AVIAN%20INFLUENZA/A2006_AI.php
BASINGSTOKE, United Kingdom (AFP) – Chris Lewis’s journey from opening the bowling for England in the 1992 World Cup final to contemplating suicide and being convicted of drug smuggling has him feeling as ambitious as when he was a teenager, he has told AFP .The 51-year-old – who represented England over 80 times in Tests and one-day internationals – said it was fear over being penniless that drove him to smuggle £140 000 ($183 000) of cocaine in cans of fruit into England from St Lucia in 2008.He stood to earn £50 000 from the deal – instead he ended up serving six and a half years of a 13-year prison term.The engaging and lithe former all-rounder is presently touring with the play written by Dougie Blaxland (the pen name of former cricketer James Graham-Brown) about his life called The Long Walk Back.“Do you know, the funny thing is, I would suggest I am more ambitious and more optimistic than I have ever been in my life,” Lewis told AFP in an interview conducted at the Haymarket Theatre in Basingstoke.“This is a stage of my life I should have gone through in my 20s with a whole set of new experiences.“It is a place I have not been since I was a teenager … a place when that teenage boy was dreaming of being a cricketer.”The play, directed by Australian husband and wife Shane Morgan and Moira Hunt of the Bristol-based Roughhouse Theatre, has helped relight the fire within him.“It (the play) all comes together from an idea of how we have reached here when less than a decade ago I was sat in a prison cell and my life was more than over,” Lewis said.It is a far cry from when Lewis, whose long-term girlfriend Patricia stayed loyal despite him putting her ‘through the wars’, and contemplated taking his own life on the first night he was incarcerated after his arrest.“You cannot get over the prospect of facing a sentence of 15 years,” he said. “If you have not been in jail it seems an unimaginable amount of time.“The question of ‘if this goes the wrong way what will you do’ and (suicide) was certainly something on the table.”Lewis, whose morale was greatly helped by former Surrey team-mate Jason Ratcliffe, who offered him help from the start, largely kept himself to himself in prison.“A strange thing that happened was sitting on my bed the night after the sentence had been passed and I cried and it got a lot of emotions out,” he said.“In terms of the cell … let us say if you like the fragrance of someone else – the toilet is right next to the bed – there are some people who may put up with that because they want company.“I was more the other way. I wanted to be on my own, having some control of one’s environment and keep your room a certain way.”There were certain rules that Lewis imposed on himself from the start of his jail term – neither listening to music nor telling his adored grandmother Eunice Joseph back in Guyana about his fall from grace.In the play, Lewis takes part in a question-and-answer session with the audience, fielding sometimes awkward enquiries.He says he is pleased by the play – which has included two prisons on its tour – because it explores the emotional side of his story and the battle he had to accept who was to blame for his predicament.
Daily Trojan: What is the key issue you’re hoping to tackle?USG Vice Presidential Candidate Austin Dunn: I don’t think there’s one overlying issue we’re trying to tackle. The bottom line is we’re very passionate about advocating on behalf of students and meeting the student need, and we see where that need is, and we know that we’re equipped enough and have the experience to make that need turn it to reality. Whether that’s incorporating free laundry on campus or extending dining hall hours during major breaks for students who either can’t afford to go home or choose not to go home, there’s literally a plethora of different platform points across the board, and I think that just arose from us listening to students and thereby going to create action for what the need is.DT: Are you planning on continuing advocacy for college affordability and if so how?USG Presidential Candidate Edwin Saucedo: What we want to do is first be able to understand where administration is coming from, and what they can and can’t do. For example, one thing we talked about in our meeting last week is that they’re not going to give us salaries for specific positions so just understanding what’s feasible and making sure we have a seat at the table and are bringing up these issues.DT: What do you think the role of diversity is on campus, in campus conversations as we move into this next presidency?ES: We want to not only increase space for cultural resource centers but we also want to have in-house counselors that look like people like us, to make sure that when you’re talking to a counselor you feel comfortable sharing your experience and sharing your background because it could be very intimidating to go into the counseling center over at Engemann right now if someone doesn’t look like you to have to validate your experience to them and tell them, “This is how I feel as a brown person on campus” … and them maybe thinking, “Yeah I have to validate them, but I don’t really relate to them.”DT: What do you see as the role of greek life on USC’s campus?AD: Some of the greatest student leaders I know, some of the most passionate people on campus, happen to be greek, so I think there’s more than just all of the issues that we’re hearing about but there definitely is more integration that needs to be happen. If we’re saying that we’re having a greek meeting, that’s not just going to mean PHC and IFC that’s a simple change that we’re going to start with, but I think the definition of the word greek on this campus needs to change.DT: Can you elaborate on your plans for sexual assault prevention?ES: We want to decrease the [response] time by having more staff available to our students, and I think that now that the racial bias reporting form is live, that also goes to the Title IX office, so yes, our University is making avenues for students to be able to report all these different issues, but how long is it going to take for you to get answers on something that happened to you? The other thing that we wanted to do is prevention and response programs.DT: How do you plan to continue to mental health advocacy on campus?ES: Recently USC released a video that said there’s 3,000 first-generation college students. As a first-generation college student, you often don’t want to ask for help or you’re afraid to ask for help. The best way to ask for help is to be able to go to someone that you feel comfortable with. That could be a great way to start with the cultural resource centers, because a lot of these students are already going to those centers and can take advantage of those services without feeling like, “Oh, I have to go all the way to Engemann to get mental health [services].”DT: Would you make any modifications to Sustainability 2020?ES: We want to contribute to the Green Engagement Fund … we want to make sure that not only contributing to them but working alongside with them to make sure that some of the projects that they’re doing, maybe we can take them on and get those implemented through administration so that USC can pay for them.DT: Can you tell us about your plans to address the spring admit, transfer and commuter student communities?ES: One of the things we want to do with spring admits specifically is work with the [Peer Leadership Consultants] to make sure that they’re being paired with someone who understands some of the campus clubs that are around and already available and is able to recommend, based on your interests, what kind of clubs you could go be going to. With the commuter student lounge, now that there’s new space opening up at the University Village that’s prime opportunity to be able to offer space for students to not only have a lounge but also have lockers because a lot of students carry heavy books and can’t be carrying them from class to class when they’re here all day, most commuter students block their schedules so that they only have to come to campus a couple of days a week so we want to make sure that during those days that they’re coming to campus they have access to lockers to put their stuff in between classes.