Feb 9, 2009Vietnam and Egypt report H5N1 poultry outbreaksVietnam today confirmed H5N1 outbreaks in poultry in another province, Hau Giang in the Mekong Delta, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) reported. The outbreak involved about 400 unvaccinated ducks and brings the number of provinces recently reporting the virus to five. Meanwhile, Egyptian veterinary officials reported that the virus struck more locations, according to a Feb 5 report posted on the Web site of Egypt-based Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR), including Behera, Helwan, and Fayoum governorates. In addition, laboratory officials are testing samples from a Sharkiya governorate location where several suspicious bird deaths were reported.[Feb 9 DPA story]Hong Kong finds H5N1 in more dead birdsMore dead birds found around Hong Kong have tested positive for the H5N1 virus, according to a Feb 7 statement from Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department (AFCD). They include a grey heron from Mai Po Nature Reserve, a peregrine falcon found near Long Beach Gardens, a chicken found on Butterfly Beach, and three chickens and a duck collected on Lantau Island.[Feb 7 AFCD press release]Senate negotiators strip pandemic funding from stimulus billBipartisan work on the Senate’s version of the economic stimulus bill on Feb 6 cut $870 million in pandemic planning provisions from the list of spending proposals, according to a report yesterday from Congressional Quarterly (CQ) Today. Critics questioned whether or not increasing the nation’s pandemic vaccine stockpile would crease more jobs. The House stimulus bill allocates $900 for pandemic flu funding. After the Senate passes its version, a conference will meet to resolve differences between the two bills.Security lapses reportedly sideline select agent work at Army’s biodefense labFederal officials suspended work on biological select agents at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Frederick, Md., on Feb 6 after identifying problems with the system the lab uses to monitor its inventories of high-risk biological materials, Wired reported today. The lab housed the work of the late Bruce E. Ivins, whom federal officials believe played a role in the 2001 anthrax attacks. The Wired report is based on an internal memo obtained by ScienceInsider blog.[Feb 9 Wired story]Listeria concerns prompt recallsTwo companies recently issued recall notices because of possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, though no illnesses were reported. Alaska Sausage Company recalled 872 pounds of sausage links with reindeer meat and bratwurst, according to a Feb 6 press release from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Meanwhile, agriculture officials in New York warned consumers not to eat 14-oz packages of Queso Fresco made by Peregrina Cheese Corp, based in Brooklyn, NY, according to a Feb 4 press release from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company is holding most of the cheese, but a small quantity was released for retail sale.[Feb 6 USDA press release][Feb 4 FDA press release]
Only in Florida!A Cape Coral couple struggling with fertility have a DJ and radio contest to thank for the newest addition to their daily.A radio DJ in Cape Coral created the “Win a Baby” contest, which gives one local couple the chance to win a free round of in vitro fertilization (IVF).The radio DJ, Jason “Big Mama” Jones created the contest because he and his wife struggled with infertility in the past.Krista and Anthony River were the lucky couple to win the free round of IVF, CBS News reports.The couple struggled with infertility after Anthony was diagnosed with cancer for a second time.The Riveras won the contest in 2017, and they now have a three-month-old son named Garrett.About one in eight couples have trouble conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy, according to a national statistic.The most common alternative for these couples is IVF treatment, which costs an average of $23,000 per cycle and is not covered by insurance in most cases.An IVF cycle includes medicines, procedures, anesthesia, ultrasounds, blood tests, lab work, and embryo storage.This year’s “Win a Baby” contest winners are currently undergoing IVF treatment and hope to start their family soon, according to reports.The radio station reportedly plans to continue the contest once a year.