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Child’s H9N2 flu case probably from birds

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first_imgMar 28, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Hong Kong officials concluded that a baby girl who was recently infected with H9N2 avian influenza—a strain believed to have pandemic potential—probably contracted it from birds, according to recent reports.A 9-month-old girl who was hospitalized with respiratory symptoms twice in recent weeks tested positive for an H9N2 infection Mar 20. The girl had only a mild illness but was treated in isolation at Princess Margaret Hospital, the Hong Kong Department of Health reported in a Mar 22 statement. At the time of her second hospitalization she had respiratory syncytial virus, the statement said.Dr. Thomas Tsang, controller of the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection, said tests had ruled out the possibility of human-to-human transmission in the girl’s case, according to a Mar 24 news release from Hong Kong’s Information Services Department.Tsang said genetic analysis of the H9N2 virus showed that it was entirely of avian origin, suggesting that the child contracted it directly from a bird, the release said. Because the girl had no contact with wild birds before her illness, she may have caught the virus at a bird market that she visited several times with her family, Tsang said.He also said tests on respiratory specimens from a healthcare worker and three children who were in the same hospital cubicle with the baby in early March tested negative for H9 viruses, and her family had no symptoms.Meanwhile, leading virologist Robert Webster warned this week that H9N2 is an “insidious” virus that needs close monitoring because it could trigger an outbreak in humans, according to a Mar 27 Bloomberg News report.H9N2 is far less known than the deadly Asian strain of H5N1 virus, which has killed at least 169 people and millions of poultry in Asia and Africa in the past few years. But Webster told Bloomberg, “H9N2 is an insidious virus. This is the one that’s far more dangerous in some ways. It doesn’t get much attention because it doesn’t kill chickens and doesn’t kill humans.”He said H9N2 can spread among pigs and infects chickens without making them sick. On the “hit list” of viruses, he added, “H5N1 is at [the] top, and H9N2 is right behind. Then come H7N7 and H2N2.”At least three cases of H9N2 illness, all of them mild, have occurred in Hong Kong children in recent years. Two girls were infected in 1999 and a 5-year-old boy had the virus in 2003.Robert L. Atmar, MD, a Baylor College of Medicine professor who has participated in clinical trials of an H9N2 vaccine, said human H9N2 illnesses may be less rare than the record suggests. Seroprevalence studies in China in the 1990s found H9 antibodies in 2% to 3% of the population, which suggests that some cases are missed, he told CIDRAP News via e-mail.Atmar, a professor in the Departments of Medicine and of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, also commented that the finding of a case in a 9-month-old child was “a little surprising unless she was toddling around the market. Usually, cases of avian influenza have followed close contact with infected poultry. H9N2 viruses are common in bird markets.”See also:Mar 20 CIDRAP News story “Baby in Hong Kong infected with H9N2 avian flu”Journal of Clinical Microbiology report on Hong Kong H9N2 case in 2003last_img read more

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Only one third of manufacturers still operating: Govt

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first_imgThe government has launched tax incentives for the manufacturing industry, including individual income tax exemptions, import tax deferrals and corporate tax discounts.Earlier in April, the government also launched the preemployment card program, a mix of unemployment benefit and skill-training program, to provide benefits worth Rp 3.5 million (US$236.66) for people whose jobs or small businesses are affected by the outbreak.“The incentives will be given on the condition there are no layoffs,” said Airlangga, who also serves as Golkar Party chairman. “We hope all the incentives can serve as a cushion to protect our workers.”The government has also reduced employment insurance payments for companies that keep on their workers. Firms can get 90 percent reductions both for work accident and life insurance payments.“By easing the insurance payments, we hope companies can fulfil their obligation to pay [the Idul Fitri] holiday bonus,” Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah said in the same online briefing.Topics : Factory activity has collapsed with only one third of manufacturing companies and workers operating at present, a high-ranking official has said.Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto said on Thursday that 15,000 manufacturing companies were still operating at present out of a total of 40,000 in normal times.Meanwhile, 4.7 million workers in the manufacturing sector are still working out of the usual 17 million in the sector, which contributes around 20 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, the minister added. “We hope companies will be back in operation when the situation returns to normal,” Airlangga told an online briefing on Thursday, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.Many businesses in the country have temporarily shut down or are functioning at minimum capacity to comply with the government’s stay-at-home order to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus, which has infected over 10,100 people nationwide.As a result, the country’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), a monthly survey of trends in the manufacturing sector, recorded a contraction to 45.3 from 51.9 between February and March, the steepest decline since the survey began in 2011.Moreover, as many as 2.2 million people are out of work, according to Manpower Ministry data last updated on April 20. More than half are formal sector workers furloughed or laid off by 43,690 firms.last_img read more

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KP Boateng issued Black Stars ultimatum – consider yourself out of Black Stars if…

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first_img“There is no such player only cut for qualification and others only for tournament,” Boateng Gyan – a relative of the Schalke forward told Metro FM. He was however ruled not fit enough to play a part in the 2-1 win over the Chipolopolo despite doing a ‘lap of honour’ on the tartan tracks. The 26-year-old made a return to the Ghana national team for the final preliminary group game in the World Cup qualifiers against Zambia in September. He has now been handed an ultimatum to win over confidence of the coach, teammates and the fans in the second leg playoff game against Egypt otherwise consider himself out of the World Cup once Ghana seals qualification. The Schalke star is yet to make a playing return for the Black Stars since renouncing his premature decision to retire from international football. Boateng again failed to show up in the first leg playoff win over Egypt – owing his absence again to injury.center_img Black Stars management committee member Yaw Boateng Gyan says Kevin-Prince Boateng should consider himself out of the World Cup if he refuses to turn up for the game against Egypt. Many Ghanaians however remain doubtful of the ex AC Milan star’s commitment to the Black Stars – with his critics believing he is only reserving himself to play on bigger platforms such as the World Cup. “It is a collective effort and therefore if he [Boateng] keeps turning down invites to play with the other players during the qualification series including this last match then I think that will be it. “We have done our best and yes, he is my relative but the truth of the matter is that if he keeps up with this attitude of not turning up for games then he better count himself out of the World Cup.”last_img read more

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TV Guide publisher’s quarterly profit tops expectations

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first_img“I believe this year is the appropriate time to devote resources to a new TV Guide brand marketing initiative,” he said. The campaign, part of an estimated $15 million to $20 million for corporate marketing, will be national in scope, he said. “The goal is to get more consumption of our products across all TV Guide platforms,” he said. For the year, net income rose 32 percent to $72.5 million, or 17 cents per share, and revenue fell 5 percent to $571.3 million. Analysts had expected 13 cents per share on revenue of $566.9 million. Gemstar shares fell 6 cents to close at $4.04 on the Nasdaq but rose 14 cents to $4.18 in after-hours activity. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Gemstar-TV Guide International Inc., publisher of the weekly TV Guide magazine, said Wednesday its fourth-quarter earnings more than doubled, driven by higher advertising and interactive revenue. Net income rose to $31.8 million, or 7 cents per share, from $12.7 million, or 3 cents per share, in the year-ago period, the company said. Revenue rose by 12 percent to $145 million from $129.4 million a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected profit of 4 cents per share on revenue of $140.7 million. The company also licenses searchable program-guide technology to cable and satellite TV companies and television makers. “We had a very productive fourth quarter, which closed out a solid year for the company,” CEO Richard Battista said during a conference call with Wall Street analysts. Revenue for the company’s cable and satellite division increased to $80.7 million during the quarter. Publishing sales increased to $41.2 million, while the company’s consumer electronics unit posted $23 million in sales. The company sees growth potential in developing guidance tools for emerging digital video-capable platforms, such as mobile phones. To that end, Battista said the company will focus on expanding the profile of its TV Guide brand. last_img read more

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