Mar 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 2003
“In Los Angeles, there’s no greater sports franchise than the Los Angeles Dodgers, and in the history of baseball, there’s been no greater voice than the incomparable Vin Scully,” KTLA President and General Manager Don Corsini said in a statement. “We thank Charter and the entire Los Angeles Dodgers organization for the unique opportunity to honor the Dean of Sports Broadcasters and share these iconic Dodgers games and moments with our entire KTLA5 Southern California community.”Dodgers Executive Vice President Lon Rosen said the deal came quickly and “we’re obviously pleased the companies were able to make this arrangement so fans can see Vin Scully’s last few games. We also know that Charter is working on bigger plans for distribution.”The Dodgers’ departure from cable partner Fox Sports West to accept a controversial 25-year, $8.3 billion deal with Time Warner Cable in 2013 resulted in thousands of Southern California viewers unable to access the team-owned SportsNet LA since its launch in February 2014.Only those subscribers of Time Warner Cable and Charter Cable, which merged earlier this year to form Spectrum, have been able to see SportsNet LA, with competitors such as AT&T/DirecTV and Frontier (formerly Verizon) balking at the price reported to be in the $5-per-month range for customers.The Dodgers continue to be baffled by the AT&T/DirecTV refusal to reopen negotiations with Spectrum, but industry sources say until AT&T/DirecTV has enough customers drop their service as a direct result of those wanting the Dodgers’ channel, it financially does not make sense for them to add it. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error KTLA Channel 5 will simulcast six Dodgers games from the Spectrum Network’s SportsNet LA, including the final three road games that are scheduled to be the last regular-season contests called by Vin Scully as he concludes his 67th season as the team’s broadcaster.The announcement Friday morning was first reported by the Southern California News Group on Thursday night.The simulcasts arranged between KTLA’s Tribune Co. and Spectrum (the new name for the Time Warner Cable and Charter merged companies) will start with the final weekend of home games against Colorado (Sept. 23-25) and includes Friday’s Vin Scully Appreciation Night. KTLA also will air that pregame ceremony to honor Scully starting at 7 p.m. The Sept. 30-Oct. 2 games in San Francisco end the regular season.Should the Dodgers make the playoffs, the team expects to arrange for Scully to call the games on KLAC-AM (570) radio while they will be televised by a national carrier (ESPN, Fox or TBS). Because of limited distribution, the Dodgers agreed to simulcast the last six games of the 2014 season on KDOC Channel 56, an independent station in Orange County. The team did not allow for any over-the-air games in 2015 in Southern California.Outside of SportsNet LA, Dodgers fans could see a regular-season game only if it was aired by ESPN, Fox Sports or, last weekend, cleared in the market by TBS.During the Dodgers’ previous FSW/Prime Ticket relationship, a package of games was sold off to over-the-air partners like KCAL Channel 9 (2005-2013), KCOP Channel 13 (2002-2005) and KTLA (1997-2005). The Dodgers started on then-Fox Sports 2 in 1997.Of the major markets that carry MLB local broadcasts, only Los Angeles/Orange County does not have a local, over-the-air package of games for the Dodgers or the Angels (who are on Fox Sports West).With this new simulcast agreement, sources say KTLA is trying to align itself as a Dodgers’ over-the-air broadcast partner with Spectrum going forward to perhaps carry as many as 20-25 games a season, either exclusively or as a simulcast.
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