Mar 2, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – China’s vice premier said today that China may see more bird outbreaks and human cases of avian influenza this spring, as the government announced plans for an intensive hunt for cases among wild birds on a major migration route, according to news services.The news from China came as Germany confirmed that a cat was infected with the deadly H5N1 virus and Serbia reported its first suspected avian flu case in a wild bird, among other developments.In China, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu said a “comprehensive analysis” indicates that the country is at risk for more trouble with avian flu this spring, according to an Associated Press (AP) story based on a report from the Chinese news agency Xinhua. Hui heads the national office for preventing and controlling the disease, the story said.In an Agence France-Press (AFP) report, Hui was quoted as saying, “This spring, there is still a possibility that bird flu will erupt and spread in China.” Speaking at a national teleconference, he added, “There is still a risk that the number of human cases will continue to increase.”To at least one expert, the Chinese statement sounded like a hint that avian flu in China is more widespread than the government has been acknowledging.”Many of us believe that this type of discussion by someone as high as the vice premier really indicates that this situation is already occurring,” said Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of the CIDRAP Web site.”You don’t see these kinds of statements coming out of the government of China very often,” he added.Osterholm said he has been told there is more avian flu in China than has been reported publicly. “I can’t say the sources, but there are more [human] cases going on in China than have been released and reported to the World Health Organization. Also, there’s information from a variety of sources suggesting the level of bird infections is substantially higher than is being reported.”He said his information came from “sources on the ground in China as well as other informed government sources.”Osterholm added that China and the rest of Asia are still the place where avian flu poses the biggest risk of sparking a human influenza pandemic. “While the spread of the virus around the world is an important consideration, the potential for the ongoing mutation of the virus toward a human-to-human transmitted strain is probably more likely where the high virus density and high bird population exist, and that’s in China and the rest of Asia.”He said that all of Africa has fewer than a billion chickens, whereas China produces 15 billion a year. “That’s where the genetic roulette table for mutations is,” he said.The AP report from China said the government is setting up an avian flu surveillance system in the eastern province of Jiangsu to focus on wild birds. The system will consist of 100 monitoring stations staffed by 1,000 workers throughout the province.Experts estimate that about 3 million migratory birds will fly to Jiangsu in the next 2 months and that another 5 million birds will pass through, according to the Xinhua story cited by the AP.”Inspectors will check dead birds and test droppings, and any sign of bird flu will trigger an emergency response,” the AP reported.Meanwhile in Germany, health officials confirmed that a cat on the Baltic Sea island of Ruegen died of H5N1 infection, AFP reported today. The case is the first known H5N1 infection in a mammal in Europe.European Union (EU) veterinarians in Brussels have urged people to keep their cats indoors and dogs leashed in areas affected by avian flu, according to AFP. And a German humane society said the case has already prompted hundreds of German cat owners to leave their pets at shelters, the story said.In Serbia, authorities reported finding an H5 flu virus in a dead swan found in the northwestern part of the country, near the borders of Croatia and Hungary. Both the latter countries have had H5N1 cases in wild birds, but this would be the first known case in Serbia.Serbian officials said samples from the swan would be sent to the EU reference lab in Weybridge, England. They vowed to take precautions against spread of the virus without waiting for the test results.In Indonesia, a 13-year-old girl and her 10-year-old brother recently died of suspected avian flu in Central Java province, according to another AFP report.The girl died yesterday after being treated for 9 days at a hospital in the town of Solo, the report said. Her younger brother died a day earlier at a local hospital in their home town of Boyolali.A doctor told AFP that the children lived near a farm and both had been in contact with sick chickens.In Iraq, a woman has died of suspected avian flu in the southern province of Nasiriyah, according to another AFP report. If her case is confirmed, it would be the third one in Iraq.In southern Russia, avian flu has killed almost half a million domestic birds in the past month, despite culling efforts, according to a Los Angeles Times report today. The Emergency Situations Ministry said the H5N1 virus has killed about 495,000 birds in regions near the Caspian and Black seas, and another 220,000 birds have been killed in containment efforts.Russian Agriculture Minister Alexei V. Gordeyev said yesterday the country will begin mass vaccinations of poultry on Mar 10, the report said.Elsewhere, more infected wild birds were found in Austria and France, while authorities in the Bahamas said it was unlikely that some dead birds in a national park on the island of Great Inagua had H5N1 avian flu.
It took 39 games, but the Wisconsin men’s hockey team finally reached a new record low.In a season filled with struggles, the Badgers came up empty-handed yet again, this time by way of a 2-0 defeat against Ohio State at the Kohl Center in the final regular season game of the year.The defeat pushed the Badgers to their 25th loss of the 2014-15 campaign, surpassing the 24 losses of the 1975-76 Badger squad, which was the previous high for most setbacks in one season.Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves said he liked the effort of his players Saturday night, but that didn’t translate into the desired outcome.“There’s not one young man in that locker room that didn’t want to play really well tonight,” Eaves said. “But it just didn’t happen.”Not surprisingly as the third lowest scoring team in the nation, Wisconsin (4-25-5, 2-15-3-2 Big Ten) failed to find the back of the net and got shut out for the fifth time in the last seven games.But Ohio State (13-18-3, 8-11-1-1) couldn’t solve Joel Rumpel either, and the teams remained scoreless almost until the halfway point of the tilt. But before the teams reached that halfway mark, OSU struck for the only goal it needed. OSU’s David Gust slid a backhanded centering feed to the front of the net, and Tyler Lundey slammed the pack into a vacated net with Rumpel down and out to give the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead 8:54 into the second.Although that proved the pivotal score, Eaves said the turning point of the game came when UW’s Cameron Hughes sustained an upper body injury. Jedd Soleway had trouble getting into the bench after he had gotten hurt earlier in the sequence, and when Hughes skated by the bench with the puck, he got slammed hard into the open door. Hughes left the game with an undisclosed injury and did not return, although Soleway did return to the game.“I thought he broke his arm,” Eaves said. “The anguish in his face was pretty good and that just was typical of the night.”Already down a goal and one player, Wisconsin lost senior Matt Paape with less than five minutes to go in the second period when he took a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a check from behind.The Buckeyes couldn’t score on the subsequent extended man advantage, but the Wisconsin offense continued its own struggles after it got back to even strength.The Badgers managed just 17 total shots in the game, the sixth time this season they have failed to record at least 20. According to Eaves, Rumpel was the big reason Wisconsin managed to even stay in the game, as the senior stopped 32 of 34 shots in the final two periods in his last home game.Ohio State would tack on an insurance goal with a little less than 10 minutes to play when Matthew Weis zipped a shot past Rumpel from the left wing on a sharp angle.But despite yet another loss this year, Rumpel and the rest of the Badgers remained optimistic after the game, with their eye on the team they will meet in the first game of the Big Ten tournament next Thursday.“They better watch out,” Rumpel said.Wisconsin will take on third-seeded Michigan Thursday in Detroit in the first round of the conference tournament.Badgers salvage tie with Buckeyes Friday nightThe Wisconsin men’s hockey team played the second 30 minutes of Friday night’s game against Ohio State like there was no tomorrow after it was nowhere to be found in the first half of the series-opening contest.But after falling down a goal twice in game one of their last home stand of the season, the Badgers never quit against Ohio State, battling the Buckeyes to a 2-2 draw and a shootout that OSU won in the tenth round.Both teams got out to a slow start in the first period, especially the Badgers, who registered only six shots on goal in the first 20 minutes. Fortunately, Wisconsin goaltender Landon Peterson, who started in place of the usual starter Rumpel, played well to keep the game scoreless heading into the second.While the Badgers finished strong, Eaves was unhappy with how his team came out to start the game.“It becomes a balance act. For a period and a half, we were disappointed,” Eaves said. “We looked distracted. We didn’t look like we were ready to play in the first period.”Wisconsin senior captain Brad Navin agreed.“We had guys who didn’t show up until halfway through the game,” Navin said.The weekend was also Wisconsin’s senior weekend, which Eaves said may have distracted his team a bit at the start of the game.Wisconsin’s play improved in the second period, but that did not prevent the Buckeyes from taking the lead 13 minutes into the period. Lundey scored on a rebound to give the Buckeyes a one goal lead that they would take into the final period.Wisconsin seniors Navin and Peterson made their senior weekends memorable in the final period. Three minutes in, Navin connected on a power play goal to tie the game and snap Wisconsin’s 183-minute goal drought. After an Ohio State goal put the Buckeyes ahead again, Navin tied it up again for the Badgers with 3:57 to play, giving him a two-goal game. Peterson may have been the biggest hero of the night, making a brilliant save on an Ohio State breakaway that came with just more than a minute left in the game.After a scoreless overtime, Ohio State prevailed in a shootout that does not count toward the teams’ NCAA records, but gives the Buckeyes an extra point in the Big Ten standings.