Baby in Hong Kong infected with H9N2 avian flu

first_imgMar 20, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Hong Kong officials have reported that a 9-month-old girl is infected with the strain of avian influenza known as A/H9N2, which has caused mild human illness in the city three times before and is considered capable of evolving into a pandemic strain.The Hospital Authority in Hong Kong said the baby girl has only mild symptoms but is in isolation at Princess Margaret Hospital, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report today.Thomas Tsang, head of the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection, said test results today confirmed that the virus is H9N2, according to the story.The same strain infected two girls in Hong Kong in 1999 and a 5-year-old boy there in 2003; all had mild illnesses and recovered.Tsang said the baby girl became ill Mar 4 with an upper respiratory tract infection and fever and was hospitalized at United Christian Hospital from Mar 6 to 9, AFP reported. The story did not make clear when she was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital.The Hospital Authority said it was “very concerned” about the case and that United Christian Hospital would “conduct a review” of all healthcare workers who had close contact with the girl, according to AFP.A report from Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) today said the girl was believed to have contracted the virus from a market in a densely populated area of Hong Kong.The AFP report quoted Tsang as saying in a statement, “Further genetic sequencing is being conducted to determine if the virus is completely of avian origin. This is an isolated case and the source of infection is being investigated. Based on previous experience, however, we will look especially into bird-to-human transmission.”The Centre for Health Protection said the girl’s family members were well and she had not been taken outside Hong Kong recently, according to AFP.In 2004 the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), concerned that H9N2 could evolve into a pandemic strain, contracted with Chiron Corp. (now part of Novartis) to produce a vaccine against the virus. Last September scientists reported that the experimental vaccine generated a good immune response in a phase 1 clinical trial.The contract called on Chiron to make 40,000 doses of the vaccine, based on an inactivated strain of H9N2 developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The report on the clinical trial results said H9N2 viruses are widespread in Eurasian poultry. Two of the three different Asian lineages of these viruses can bind to human as well as bird cell receptors (sialic acid residues) and therefore may be more likely to infect humans than other avian flu viruses are, the authors wrote.The H9N2 strain of avian flu is distinct from the lethal Asian strain of H5N1 virus, which has killed millions of poultry in Asia, Africa, and Europe and caused 281 human illness cases, 169 of them fatal, according to the World Health Organization’s current tally.See also:Sep 26, 2006, CIDRAP News story “H9N2 flu vaccine looks good in clinical trial”August 2004 NIAID news release about the Chiron contract to produce an H9N2 vaccinehttp://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/Archive/2004/Pages/h9n2.aspxDec 10, 2003, CIDRAP News story “Hong Kong probes human case of avian flu”last_img read more

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Wenger: We’re not scared to spend

first_imgManager Arsene Wenger maintains Arsenal are ready to spend big again on buying more world-class talent like Mesut Ozil – but also stressed the club are not about to abandon their long-standing principle of youth development. Press Association He said: “We have a huge ambition to win this league again and that is the target of the season, but I still believe our policy has to be based on three different levels. I don’t think without that we will have success. “The first level is of course, continue to defend our style of play, our philosophy of play and our values. That can only be done by developing our own players and the core of our team has to come from the development inside our club. “The second level of the development of our club has to be based on the intelligence of our eye. That means players who are unknown and who can become big players here, through our connections, the quality of our scouting, through the quality of what we have seen in them and how they could develop. “Then, the third part of our development and ambition is to scout and buy recognised world class players. This season for example we have bought Ozil. You don’t need any scout to buy Ozil. You just need money. “I am quite happy that we have shown to you that we are not scared to spend money when we think the players have the quality and we have the funds available to do it.” Wenger continued: “I believe we have a huge advantage in that our club is well respected all over the world because we have values, because we are not artificial, because we are based on tradition, we are as well forward thinking and we give a chance to young people who deserve it. “That is for me something that is very important to preserve.” Arsenal host Norwich when domestic action resumes again on Saturday. Arsenal held their annual general meeting at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday, where the atmosphere was much less tense than in previous seasons, with the team currently top of the Barclays Premier League after having smashed their transfer record with the £43million deadline day signing of German playmaker Ozil from Real Madrid. Wenger, though, was keen to use his address to shareholders to emphasise while Arsenal are now able to compete again in terms of big-money signings on the back of improved commercial deals, the continued focus for developing from within would remain at the “core” of the club. The Gunners lead the table only on goal difference from Liverpool, whom they are set to face at the Emirates Stadium at the start of next month. Wenger feels Arsenal should be confident of a long-overdue sustained assault on the title. “We are top of the table, we are in a very strong position, but if you look at the schedule, then by the end of November you will have a much clearer situation of where the strengths of everybody lies in this Premier League,” said Wenger. “When we get all of our players back (from injury), then at the moment I am confident we have a very big part to play in this league. “I am confident at the end of May, we will all be happy.” Ozil, who was substituted late on during Germany’s final World Cup qualifier in Sweden, is set to play despite suffering a knock to his knee. Fellow playmaker Santi Cazorla should be involved again for the first time since the win over Tottenham on September 1 following his recovery from an ankle problem, while Bacary Sanga (hamstring) could also play. Wenger told Arsenal Player: “He (Ozil) is alright. He came back with a knock on the knee, but it was just a kick. We will have a test tomorrow to see if he is fit enough for Saturday or not. “When you have not played, there is always a little doubt, but not a major one. Sagna is 80 per cent fit and he will have a test. “Cazorla is available in training, but he is not match-fit. It is just about competitiveness with him. There is a possibility both are in the squad for Saturday. I have not decided whether they will start or not.” England forward Theo Walcott, who has been sidelined after a minor abdominal procedure, is set to resume full training, but may not feature until next week’s Champions League tie with Borussia Dortmund. last_img read more

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