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Thailand’s first avian flu case of 2006 confirmed

first_imgJul 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.phplast_img read more

Why sacking Roberto Martinez could be a mistake for Everton

first_imgRoberto Martinez’s flaws are no secret, writes Richard Jolly, but Everton would be taking a big risk if they chose to try and find an upgrade on their current manager.“It was the second time I’d been done by new owners coming in,” wrote Sam Allardyce, with typical bluntness. Getting “done”, or sacked, was a recurring theme when the club he managed was taken over.First Newcastle, then Blackburn. A new broom wanted a new face, even if that face belonged to Steve Kean.To judge by the tone of Allardyce’s recent autobiography, that still stings. Rightly so, too.It is not in Roberto Martinez’s nature to project any fears he may harbour of suffering a similar fate.When the British-Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri bought a 49.9 percent stake in Everton, Martinez declared him the “perfect person” to take Everton to the next level and started talking about his aim of Champions League qualification. Martinez may voice the ambition new owners tend to require. His ever growing band of critics wonder if he has the realism and the results they also need.The smiling Spaniard is a voice of innate optimism, to the extent that he could spend three-quarters of a season in the relegation zone with Wigan while giving the impression he had never looked at the league table. Martinez can ignore the context and the soundtrack.It is increasingly hard for others to do otherwise. More of the Everton manager’s decisions are booed at Goodison Park. Sometimes frustration is also expressed with his players who are deemed to benefit from his patronage, whether Tim Howard, John Stones, Ross Barkley or Arouna Kone.After eight consecutive top-eight finishes, Everton are on course for a second successive bottom-half berth. Their season could effectively be over if Chelsea eliminate them from the FA Cup on Saturday. Everton have a strange addiction to 3-3 draws and 3-2 defeats, an inability to hold on to leads and an enduring capacity to concede from crosses and set-pieces.The adjective Martinez applied to their weekend loss to West Ham, infuriating, is starting to apply to his regime as a whole. Even his peers have abandoned the managerial creed of omerta to suggest he is failing. “I think they have got a top-five squad,” said Tony Pulis after West Bromwich Albion won at Goodison Park.“On paper, their team is one of the best in England,” stated Slaven Bilic after West Ham emulated them.Case closed, then. Everton need a change at the helm to realise their considerable potential.Moshiri can make his mark by appointing a manager with a grasp of the defensive basics. Martinez’s flaws are too pronounced for him to have much cause for complaint. Except that Everton may be best served by keeping the Spaniard, and not merely because his team of 2013-14, who accumulated 72 points in an adventurous fashion, was their best in almost three decades.Nor is it purely because of their appeal to neutrals, who can prize style over substance in a way that is understandably irritating to Evertonians. It is because the situation is not as simple as it seems. It is no easy task to just strip away the faulty parts of Martinez’s self-destructive side and bolt on a bit more solidity.It is because, while Everton were indelibly associated with David Moyes during his 11-year reign, they have now become a quintessential Martinez team. Their failings are his but so are their successes. For better and worse, he has transformed the identity of a club.The fact that they have the ‘Fab Four’ of Stones, Barkley, Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku, who can be conservatively valued at £150 million between them, owes much to him.He only signed the Spaniard and the Belgian but all four have reached new levels under Martinez. Before his appointment, Barkley had only started four top-flight games. Stones had not appeared in any. A more cautious manager – Moyes, say – would have waited longer to trust either. Nor would he have purchased the maverick Deulofeu. He may not have played the brand of football that permitted Lukaku to be so prolific.James McCarthy has gone from a rookie recruited from Hamilton Academical to one of the Premier League’s most accomplished midfielders under Martinez’s tutelage. Muhamed Besic has offered hints that he could kick on in a similar manner. Brendan Galloway showed rich promise in his early-season outings.Having inherited an ageing group, Martinez has switched the emphasis to a younger generation.He belongs to the brand of evangelistic salesmen forever promising a brighter tomorrow; the paradoxical risk is that the future is worse without him.Because Everton’s squad have a peculiarly Martinez-esque quality. They have become so idiosyncratic that possible successors may discover it becomes a sizeable rebuilding job. Certainly it is easy to envisage others, whether Gareth Barry, Tom Cleverley, Joel Robles or Kone, being deemed unsuitable by another manager.The past provides a pertinent precedent. Wigan floundered after Martinez left and not merely because he raided them for four players, or because relegation prompted others to leave. Replacing Martinez poses problems.Retaining him requires strength, given the pressure Moshiri could come under to dismiss him. It needs a firm instruction to recruit a defensive coach and spend time training the rearguard to repel set-pieces.Yet it also necessitates a memory of the club’s past, something new owners often lack. Everton have a wretched record against the top eight this season, but Martinez has a history of defeating elite opposition. Two of his substitutions backfired last week, but he has made many a catalytic change in the past.He has shown tactical acumen to accompany his capacity to make players better. He has played with the aesthetic appeal Allardyce’s sides often lack and which can exert an appeal to those dreaming of a brave new world.He has taken Everton to their best points total since 1987 and their lowest in a decade. A focus on the here and now means the latter occupies the attention more and there is a case for a more pragmatic replacement who produces more consistency, but Martinez merits another season to try and touch the heights again.He may be Allardyce’s opposite in many ways but while the last club to sack the veteran, West Ham, have accelerated towards the Champions League in a manner Everton want to emulate, the previous two were left to rue the rashness of newcomers to the boardroom.—last_img read more