Questions raised about Vietnam’s avian flu reports and testing

first_imgMar 4, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Vietnam, the country at the center of this year’s avian influenza activity, may have two problems with its data on human cases: transparency in reporting and accuracy in testing.The country has lapsed in its reporting of cases to the World Health Organization (WHO). More than a month passed without official reporting of cases, despite widespread media reports of several new cases, according to a story by the Canadian Press (CP) on Mar 1.Ongoing monitoring by CIDRAP News also shows substantial discrepancies between official and unofficial numbers (see Case Count tables).Because the WHO relies on official reports for its case counts and as the basis for advice to member countries, the lack of reporting has an impact, Dr. Klaus Stohr, director of the WHO’s global influenza program, told the CP.”The situation is that WHO has a request by its member states to provide proper risk assessment, to help other member states of WHO . . . in assessing what’s going on in Asia and provide advice to other member states. And without this information, this is very difficult,” Stohr said.WHO officials had requested reports in person and in writing, the CP story noted. Those efforts appeared to be paying off on Mar 2, when Dick Thompson, communications officer in the Communicable Diseases Section of WHO in Geneva, told CIDRAP News by e-mail, “We understand that there is some movement and we will have an update shortly.”Vietnam is not the only country with reporting shortcomings. Indonesian farmers tallied more than 33,000 poultry deaths from avian flu during the past 2 months, the Jakarta Post reported today. Indonesia has not reported any new outbreaks to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in several months.Reporting can trigger difficult consequences. “Many countries find it difficult to report outbreaks of contagious diseases. These can impact trade and tourism, or it can injure their international standing or self-image,” Thompson wrote.The pattern of cases in Vietnam has not changed recently. Thompson commented, “The press reports suggest that the missing cases are sporadic. This would be a serious public health issue if there were a cluster of cases—that is not 15 isolated cases ranging over several weeks, but a single cluster of 15 cases, from one area, among casual contacts and health care workers. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Viet Nam.”He criticized developed nations: “These are nations which can afford to help countries like Viet Nam. Right now, these Asian countries are sustaining enormous hits to their economies in the effort to fight [avian] flu. If they are successful, every nation will benefit by not having to confront a pandemic. Therefore, we believe that those nations which share the benefits of this fight should . . . help [poorer] countries which are largely managing on their own.”Reporting issues aside, Vietnam may face another hurdle in coping with avian flu: re-analysis of samples showed that some Vietnamese who had flulike symptoms but tested negative for H5N1 in Vietnam actually had the virus. The findings, which cast doubt on the sensitivity of Vietnam’s H5N1 test, were described in a Feb 24 news story in Nature.According to the story, samples from 11 recent avian flu case-patients in Vietnam, as well as samples from 90 patients who had suspected cases but tested negative for H5N1, were sent to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo. About a third of the samples had been tested there so far. Of those, seven that had tested negative in Vietnam were found to be positive, said Phan Van Tu, head of the microbiology and immunology department at the Pasteur Institute in Ho Chi Minh City.Retesting in Vietnam then confirmed four of the seven positive results.Tu said one reason for the discrepancy was that reagents in the original tests weren’t mixed well and yielded unclear results. He added that the institute would use the more sensitive test that was used in Tokyo and improve technician training, according to the story.last_img read more

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I am not a wizard but a born again Christian – Ortom

first_imgRelatedPosts Gana: Ortom demands release of repentant militiamen Breaking: Wanted Benue militia leader Gana shot dead Breaking: Wanted Benue gang leader surrenders The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Thursday described as “laughable’’ trending speculation that suggested that he was a wizard.Ortom said this at the opening ceremony of a two-day Governor’s Retreat for Benue Government Appointees in Makurdi.The governor noted that he became a child of God after becoming a born- again Christian in 1979, adding that: “since then I have professed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour’’.He, therefore, said the insinuations making around claiming he was head of wizards in Benue remained a “fallacy and laughable’’.Ortom also said such suggestion was a misrepresentation of his Christian faith, adding that there was no reason for people to doubt his religious belief.“I was surprised that at a burial some people even made attempt to stop me from quoting the Holy Bible during my speech.“I heard some people saying Ortom is the leader of wizards in Benue but it is not true, I am a child of God.“I became born again in 1979 and since then God has been grateful to me.“I was at a burial somewhere and people accused me of using Bible to do witchcraft. They said I should not be allowed to quote the Bible that if I did the people will become speechless’’, Ortom said.According to the governor, no human being makes him governor as God alone anoints him Benue governor as far back as 1992.He said God went on to perfect His plan for him by fulfilling His prophecy in 2015.Ortom explained that he had experienced numerous challenges and faced persecution before eventually becoming the governor.Ortom further said that but for God’s intervention he would have given up on his governorship in 2017 as a result of plethora of difficult administrative challenges.“In 2017, I almost gave up and decided that I will be a one term governor and not contest again, but God again said otherwise.“God told me that those castigating me will be those who will work for my re-election and here we are today in my second term.“This government is not that type that won elections because of good deeds; god-fatherism, federal might, but because of the will of God.“No one in Benue and Nigeria can boost that he or she made Ortom governor’’, he said.The governor further explained that God had used him to cement many people’s election in the past in the state.Ortom said in a bid to prosecute him further, his Chief of Staff, Terwase Orbunde and Special Adviser on Development Corporation, SDGs and NEPAD, Dr Magdalene Dura, were arrested by EFCC for alleged missing N4.7b but that they were vindicated.He, therefore urged the appointees to be steadfast, dedicated to their responsibilities and stay away from anything that would make anti- graft agencies come after them.“Protect yourselves now, avoid corruption because I would not defend anyone found short-changing the government’’, he said. Tags: Samuel OrtomWizardlast_img read more

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Homeless count presentation at Council brings visibility.

first_imgThe 2018 survey also found that 57 percent of those surveyed said the reason for being homeless was due to having too low of an income Advertisement What makes Fort St. John unique is the climate as some homeless will couch surf making it hard to identify them, the lack of affordable housing in the area and the cost of living vs low wages can impact the numbers compared to other areas. Other reasons that attribute to the homelessness count shared in the presentation are due to discrimination of indigenous people, lack of supports in the community and individual circumstances. The presenters, Stephen D’Souza the Executive Director of HSABC and James Caspersen, Urban Systems 2020 Homeless Count Project Manager spoke about how the area of Fort St. John looks different for the homeless count to other areas and why the count is done. – Advertisement -In 2018, the first survey was a scan of where homeless counts were as they had never been performed before. These counts are extremely important for decision-makers to identify trends in homelessness to be able to advocate and help the needs of these people in the community. This homeless count will take place along with counts across the province and Canada. The survey will focus on a number of aspects of homelessness, such as demographics, income, and medical issues. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Homelessness Services Association of B.C. (HSABC) made a presentation to Council on Monday on their survey of homelessness counts in area and B.C. With initiatives taking place around the city and new affordable housing opening in Fort St. John, the second homelessness count taking place in 2020 will provide numbers that can help determine where the current need is. The count that took place in 2018 has been noted as an undercounted number. 61 people in Fort St. John that were homeless, and out of those 61 people, 40 were sheltered while 21 claimed to be unsheltered. last_img read more

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