Avian influenza turning into epidemic

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest After hearing the latest news of more devastating cases of poultry losses in his state, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad called the current avian influenza (AI) outbreak an “epidemic.”On May 1, Iowa declared a state of emergency due to the problem. The latest detections in Iowa involved three turkey farms and a chicken laying operation of about 1 million birds. Over 5.5 million birds have been lost in Iowa alone, the nation’s top egg producing state. Minnesota and Wisconsin had already declared emergency status in April. Nationwide total AI losses are more than 20 million birds.“AI has been percolating relatively quietly in the poultry industry for most of the year. In early March, the first case of the highly-pathogenic H5N2 strain of AI in the Mississippi flyway was confirmed by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on a commercial turkey operation in Minnesota,” said John D. Anderson, Deputy Chief Economist, American Farm Bureau Federation. “Looking ahead, the big question is whether or not highly-pathogenic AI will impact the broiler industry. So far, broilers have not been impacted significantly. The two commercial chicken operations to have confirmed AI cases have both been layer operations. Of course, there are substantial numbers of broiler facilities along the Mississippi flyway, mostly in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri. As the migration season winds down, the likelihood of a full-blown outbreak in the broiler sector should be diminishing, but the possibility remains a real source of uncertainty for the livestock sector this year.”Three worrisome strains of avian flu have been detected in U.S. birds so far. The strains are related to a virus that circulated in Asia and Europe in 2014. In December 2014, they were detected in the Pacific Migratory Bird Flyway, in Washington, Oregon, California, Utah, Idaho and Nevada. These viruses are classified as highly pathogenic, meaning they are extremely infectious and fatal for birds. Since then, the problem has exploded nationally.“This is obviously a very troublesome situation for the producers affected. We are working very closely with state ag officials and producer groups,” said Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary. “We want to make sure folks are using every bit of biosecurity they can to prevent this from happening. We have a booklet that is available through APHIS that lays out the strategies people can take to prevent this from occurring. We want to make sure that when it does occur it is detected as quickly as possible so we are in a position to depopulate the affected flocks, provide reimbursement and make sure we sanitize the area properly to contain this the best we can. We are also working on vaccines, but AI has a way of mutating and we are hoping we do not see an eastern impact and we hope that export markets remain as open as they can be. We are concerned that 11 or 12 countries have proposed a countrywide ban on poultry from the United States. We don’t think that is consistent with science or international regulations. We will continue to work as best we can to make sure export markets remain open.”The current avian influenza outbreak has not been found in Ohio, but is a concern.“Our highest priority at this time is on protecting our flocks through heightened biosecurity measures that will help prevent introduction of this disease on Ohio’s farms,” said Jim Chakeres, with the Ohio Poultry Association. “Those of us in the egg and poultry farming community remain deeply concerned about the continued spread of avian influenza. While there is no risk to humans from the disease, and eggs, turkey and chicken remain safe to eat, the impact on the nation’s flocks and on the industry overall is devastating,”This has been strictly an avian disease outbreak — human illness has never been reported in relation to this outbreak in North America, Europe or Asia, and poultry products such as chicken and turkey are safe to eat. Still, producers and poultry owners should take all necessary measures to protect their birds, said Mohamed El-Gazzar, poultry veterinarian for Ohio State University Extension who is also an assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine.“The first thing is to try to avoid direct contact between any domestic or captive type of bird and wild migratory birds,” El-Gazzar said. “Producers are generally very good about protecting their birds, but they need to be aware that there’s an increased risk.”Backyard poultry owners should consider keeping their birds in enclosed covered runs until the threat from the viruses passes, he said. Poultry owners should not be complacent about these viruses even though they have not been detected in the Midwest, El-Gazzar said.Samples from wild birds collected during the recent hunting season have not yet been analyzed, and few additional samples will be collected until summer. So, although there is no evidence that these viruses might be circulating in Ohio, authorities can’t be certain the state is completely free of them, he said.“While we don’t think there are these highly pathogenic viruses in the Mississippi flyway, we don’t really know for sure,” he said.Anyone who keeps or breeds raptors should also be aware of these viruses, as they have been detected in birds of prey out West, too, El-Gazzar said. Other precautions El-Gazzar recommends include:In addition to avoiding direct contact between migratory and domestic birds, it’s important to prevent indirect contact, as well. “For example, if there’s an open body of water nearby that attracts wild birds, don’t go out, potentially step in fecal material, and then come back to your birds and transmit an infection,” he said.Protect birds from other poultry populations. “We don’t encourage mixing flocks, mixing ages or mixing species,” El-Gazzar said. “Visitors to your bird flock, whether they’re from the neighborhood or from other farms, are highly discouraged.”Commercial producers or backyard poultry owners should boost insect and rodent control efforts. “Make sure your houses are animal-proof, so that raccoons, opossums or any varmints can’t get in, and bird-proof so that wild birds can’t get in.” Such biosecurity measures also include keeping feed and water clean.It’s especially important to protect domestic birds from wild duck populations, El-Gazzar said, because they often don’t show any signs of disease even if they are carrying the virus.“If you’re a poultry owner and have ducks and chickens and turkeys in the same flock, that is a highly risky situation,” El-Gazzar said. “Particularly if ducks are involved, that requires increased biosecurity for the time being.”Even if poultry owners cannot isolate their flocks from migrating birds and other poultry species, it’s at least important to be aware of the increased risk of the virus, El-Gazzar said.“At the first sign of a problem, alert authorities so things can be checked out,” he said. “If you notice increased mortality in an alarming manner, contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture. They will speak with you and determine if what you’re seeing matches the pattern of the highly pathogenic influenza.”The animal disease hotline at ODA is 800-300-9755 or 614-728-6220. Updates on the Pacific flyway avian influenza outbreak is online at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website, at www.aphis.usda.gov. For additional information on poultry biosecurity measures, see the service’s poultry biosecurity website at www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/birdbiosecurity/biosecurity/basicspoultry.htm. OSU Extension also has a fact sheet, Biosecurity for Poultry, online at ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0009.html.“We’re not trying to scare anybody,” El-Gazzar said. “Currently we don’t have any problems with this group of viruses here in Ohio, that we know of.“We’re just saying be aware of the problems out west, which might represent some risk to the Ohio poultry producers and backyard poultry owners. Just be aware and do everything you can to protect your birds.”last_img read more

How You Waste Time

first_imgThere are a lot of ways to waste the one completely finite, non-renewable resource that is your time. Some things that feel like work are not work at all. Other things that you pretend will improve your work are really just distractions.Looking for ShortcutsThe time you spend looking for shortcuts is time you could have spent doing the actual task itself. You can easily spend more time working on trying to get out of the work you need to do than the time it takes to actually do that work.It’s nice to have clean lines, to have processes, and to be efficient. But if it takes more time to manage those systems than it does to do the work, those systems are not really shortcuts.Cleaning Your DeskCleaning your desk is usually a way to procrastinate and avoid something you really should be doing.The problem with cleaning your desk is that it gives you a sense of accomplishment, but it does nothing to move your closer to your goals. You would be better off getting your most important tasks completed with a messy desk than you would be getting nothing important done with a pristine workspace.Filing Your EmailThere is no reason to create nested folders inside nested folders. In fact, there is no reason to file your email in nested folders at all.Outlook has a great search engine. So does Gmail. So does Mail.app. In fact, all modern email software offerings have amazing search capabilities. Scrolling through your search results is faster than spending hours building a meticulous folder structure. And it’s faster.Working SmarterIf working smarter means spending countless hours setting up your systems, deciding to try something new, and then setting up new systems to see if you can gain a few minutes of efficiency, then don’t work smarter (I am a case study here, so I know what it is I speak of).One of the smartest ways you can work is to simply do the most important thing you need to do first each day. Working hard on what’s important is better than working smarter if that means you aren’t doing what needs to be done.Most of the time you spend on the Internet and Social Media is a serious waste of your time. So is most of the time you spend watching television.If you value your time, don’t waste it. You have as much as you have and no more.last_img read more

Exhibition on LGBTQ issues in Goa

first_imgGoa-based Museum of Goa (MoG) Foundation will hold a “colourful flying exhibition” to celebrate the recent Supreme Court decision of scrapping section 377 of the India Penal Code , from November 10 to 30.Celebrated Goan artist and sculptor Subodh Kerakar, Director of MoG, told presspersons here that the exhibition, based on the theme “Freedom is in the air”, will be held in collaboration with Hamsafar Trust and Goa Livelihood Forum(GLF), at MoG museum in Pilerna in North coastal Goa.The Foundation has invited entries from artists from across the country to present works of art on LGBTQ issues.last_img

Ronaldo becomes Serie A joint-top scorer as Juventus register easy win over SPAL

first_imgJuventus moved nine points clear at the top of Serie A with a 2-0 win over SPAL on Saturday as Cristiano Ronaldo’s strike made him the league’s joint-top scorer.Goals either side of the break from the Portugal international and Mario Mandzukic earned Juve their 12th win of an unbeaten start to the league season, with Ronaldo joining Genoa striker Krzysztof Piatek on nine goals.Massimiliano Allegri’s side have now collected 37 points from a possible 39 and hold a significant lead over second-placed Napoli on 28 points ahead of their game against Chievo on Sunday.Juventus appeared to have taken the lead after just 10 minutes when SPAL defender Felipe deflected a cross into his own net, but the effort was disallowed after Mandzukic was penalised for encroaching in the penalty box as Alfred Gomis took his goal kick in the build-up.After half an hour, Ronaldo opened the scoring with a controlled left-footed finish into the corner from Miralem Pjanic’s free kick, becoming the first player since Pietro Anastasi in 1968-69 to reach nine goals in 13 games for the club.Juventus, one of three teams in Europe’s top five leagues to have scored in every league game this season along with Barcelona and Paris St Germain, doubled their lead on the hour mark shortly after Douglas Costa had rattled the post from a tight angle.Costa’s powerful shot was parried by Gomis into the path of Mandzukic, who tapped in from close range on the night that he captained Juventus from the start for the first time.advertisementRonaldo threatened to add a second, forcing Gomis into a smart save from distance before shooting wide from a promising position as Juventus strolled to a comfortable victory.In the early kickoff, Davide Nicola masterminded a 1-0 win over AS Roma on his debut as Udinese coach, ending a 10-match losing run for his new club in the fixture.Rodrigo De Paul scored the only goal of the game early in the second half to move Udinese above Bologna into 16th place on 12 points, while Roma remained on 19 points in seventh.last_img read more