Aug 21, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A third human case of H5N1 avian influenza has been confirmed in a remote part of Indonesia where a number of suspected cases are being investigated, but most of the cases probably resulted from exposure to sick poultry, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today.The confirmed case was in a 35-year-old woman from the subdistrict of Cikelet in West Java province who died shortly after she was hospitalized Aug 17, the WHO said. She is the 46thIndonesian to die of the illness, out of 59 confirmed cases, by the WHO’s count. An Aug 20 Agence France-Presse (AFP) report identified the woman as Euis Lina.Multiple cases in close proximity raise the possibility of human-to-human transmission. The disease was confirmed in two other people from Cikelet in the past week: a 9-year-old girl who died Aug 15 and a 17-year-old boy who is still alive.Three other people in the area died previously of suspected avian flu but were buried without being tested, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). One of them was the daughter of Euis Lina, said Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari, as quoted by AFP.Sixteen other people in the area have been tested for the virus, AFP reported today. Their initial results were negative, but the tests are being repeated, an Indonesian official told AFP.WHO and Indonesian experts have been investigating in the Cikelet area since Aug 17, according to AFP. The WHO said investigators think the human cases are related to poultry outbreaks that began in late June.Cikelet encompasses about 20 isolated hamlets of around 200 to 400 people each, situated in a basin surrounded by steep mountains and accessed only by rocky, winding paths, the WHO said. People in the area have little access to healthcare and often die of endemic diseases such as malaria.No mass poultry deaths are known to have occurred in the area before late June, when some chickens were bought from an outside market and added to local flocks, the WHO said. Large numbers of chickens began dying shortly afterward in an outbreak that continued through July and the first week of August.’High-risk behaviors’ cited”As the population had no experience with this disease, high-risk behaviors commonly occurred during the disposal of carcasses or the preparation of sick or dead birds for consumption,” the agency said. “These exposures are, at present, thought to be the source of infection for most confirmed or suspected cases.”Some people in the area died of respiratory illnesses in late July and early August, but no samples were taken and medical records are generally poor, the WHO said, adding, “Though some of these undiagnosed deaths occurred in family members of confirmed cases, the investigation has found no evidence of human-to-human transmission and no evidence that the virus is spreading more easily from birds to humans.”The Cikelet situation comes about 3 months after seven confirmed avian flu cases and one probable case occurred in an extended family in the Indonesian province of North Sumatra. That cluster brought the first laboratory-confirmed instance of human-to-human transmission and the first three-person chain of cases. However, the WHO concluded that the disease did not spread outside the family.Indonesian officials today played down the likelihood of a case cluster with person-to-person transmission in Cikelet, according to the AFP report.I Nyoman Kandun told AFP that the cases couldn’t be classified as a cluster at this point because the patients lived too far apart to have come into contact.The 17-year-old boy who survived the illness had contact with a cousin who was one of the three people who died of possible avian flu without being tested. The WHO said previously that person-to-person transmission was highly unlikely in that instance because both patients were exposed to sick chickens and both got sick the same day, whereas there would have been a delay if one had been infected by the other.Another suspected case-patient from the Cikelet area, a 4-year-old girl, was removed from a hospital today by family members against the advice of doctors, the Jakarta Post reported. After she showed some improvement, the family decided to treat her at home, though her test results were still awaited, said a spokesman for Dr. Slamet General Hospital in Garut regency.The story described the girl as one of 11 people from Cikelet with suspected or confirmed avian flu.The latest confirmed case raises the WHO’s global avian flu toll to 240 cases with 141 deaths. That includes 95 cases so far this year, equal to the total for all of 2005. Sixty-four people have died of the illness so far this year, compared with 41 for all of last year.FAO lists Balkans as high-risk areaIn other developments, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today that the spread of avian flu among poultry has slowed in most countries, but warned that the southern Balkan countries and the Caucasus are a “high-risk region” for more outbreaks.”The region is not only a prime resting ground for migratory bird species, but poultry production is mostly characterized by rural and household husbandry with little in terms of biosecurity and strong regulatory inspection. In Romania it is still too early to say if the situation has stabilized,” said Juan Lubroth, head of the FAO’s Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal Diseases, in a news release.The agency said H5N1 has been confirmed in 55 countries, up from 45 in April. But the virus’s spread among poultry has been slowed by efforts to improve surveillance, strengthen veterinary services, and, in some cases, vaccinate poultry, officials said.”More than 220 million birds have died from the virus or been killed in culling activities aimed at stopping the spread of the disease,” the FAO said.To fight avian flu, the agency said it has received US $67.5 million so far and has signed agreements with donors for another $29 million. An additional $25 million has been promised. The FAO has disbursed $32.5 million since donor countries at a conference in Beijing last January pledged $1.9 billion for the campaign to stop the virus.See also:Aug 21 WHO statementhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2006_08_21/en/index.htmlAug 21 FAO news releasehttp://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000378/index.html
Liberal party and coalition partner VVD in the Netherlands has said it remains very critical of the National Mortgages Institution (NHI), which is to issue government-backed mortgage bonds to institutional investors. Speaking at the international IIR securitisation event in Amsterdam last week, Roald van de Linde, MP for the VVD, questioned investors’ motives for wanting the government to be involved in the NHI.“It’s either a matter of running less risk or gaining higher returns,” he said.The NHI – still under construction – is meant to relieve banks’ balance sheets, and is expected to attract €50bn of investment from institutional investors over the next five years. “[But] as we understand it,” Van de Linde said, “banks must keep the most risky mortgages, so this won’t solve their liquidity problem.”The liberal MP suggested that foreign investors failed to understand the concept of the National Mortgage Guarantee (NHG), the already existing guarantee scheme for mortgage lenders for properties worth up to €290,000.“Dutch pension funds probably don’t invest in local mortgages because NHG mortgages don’t return enough due to low interest rates,” Van de Linde said.“Mortgages with no or less government backing are more attractive, and yield approximately a 1% higher return.”In his opinion, the market must do without guaranteed mortgages portfolios and come up with its own hedging arrangements.Van de Linde further indicated that the VVD was very worried about the exposure of the Dutch state to the housing market.“We would also like to limit the NHG,” he said.However, the MP added that his party would approach the NHI proposals from the Cabinet with an open mind.Rob Koning, director of the Dutch Securitisation Association (DSA) and closely involved in designing the NHI, stressed that the vehicle was meant for bad times, when the markets were unavailable.“Moreover, we assume that it could take up to 10 years before the €50bn has been invested,” he said, adding that the amount could be raised to €80bn during a next crisis.Koning denied that the current NHI design would pose any risk to the Dutch government.However, he declined to provide further details about the scheme, which is in its final stage of preparation.The NHI will require political backing from not only the Dutch Parliament but also the European Commission.The other coalition partner, the labour party PvdA, said it did support the principle of government-backed mortgage bonds, but it emphasised that pension funds should also be prepared to invest in mortgages without a government guarantee.
For all the Latest Sports News News, Football News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. Madrid: Real Madrid’s revival under Santiago Solari appears to be back on track after they moved up to fifth in La Liga with a 2-0 win over Valencia. An own-goal from Valencia’s Daniel Wass gave Madrid an early lead before Lucas Vazquez added a late second to wrap up their sixth win in seven games under their new coach on Saturday. The 3-0 thrashing by Eibar last weekend, in Solari’s first official game in charge, had placed the depth of the recovery in doubt but this was another assured display to back up an impressive Champions League win over Roma in midweek.Read More | Manchester City extend lead, Manchester United held to a draw”We did not play well against Eibar but we were good in Rome, and we were really good today,” Solari said. Madrid move two points behind Barcelona and only three adrift of leaders Sevilla, albeit with both still to play on Sunday. Valencia stay 13th.Read More | Cristiano Ronaldo extends Juventus’ domination in Serie AMarcelino’s side, attempting a comeback of sorts themselves after a poor start to the season, offered disappointingly little, save for a 20-minute spell at the start of the second half. “We deserved to equalise,” Marcelino said. “For a long time in the second half we were better than Real Madrid.” Otherwise, their opponents controlled the contest and while Gareth Bale’s league drought stretched to 10 games, his longest ever, the Welshman played a lead role in an energetic performance before coming off in the second half. He appeared to signal some discomfort with his right thigh when sitting on the bench, with Solari confirming afterwards that Bale had “felt a problem”. The Santiago Bernabeu was almost packed out, eight days before Boca Juniors and River Plate are due to play here in the postponed second leg of the Copa Libertadores final. With La Liga still pushing for Barcelona’s game against Girona to be staged in Miami, there was perhaps something to be savoured in two Spanish teams, in a Spanish competition, playing in a Spanish stadium. Isco is one of Spain’s primary talents but is still to be picked in a starting line-up by Solari. This was the midfielder’s seventh consecutive game out of the side and while he came on to cheers, 10 minutes with Madrid already ahead were only crumbs for comfort. Bale seemed more pinned to the left wing than he has been for a long time and he rolled back the years with a straight run down the line before whipping in an early cross. Karim Benzema’s ambitious volley sailed just wide. Madrid had made much the better start and in the eighth minute, took the lead. Wass headed into his own net but Dani Carvajal led the celebrations. He kept the ball alive before rummaging past Gabriel Paulista and Jose Gaya. The flicked cross gave Wass too little time to react. Valencia made hardly any impact on the half, pressed and harried into submission. Neto skewed a clearance under pressure but then made up for his error by denying Bale from close range. Fortunate only to be one behind, Valencia improved after the break. Santi Mina blazed over with only Thibaut Courtois to beat. Gaya’s cutback was slightly misplaced. Paulista volleyed over on the stretch from three yards. Bale was replaced by Marco Asensio, who should have given Madrid breathing space but his finish was blocked by Ezequiel Garay. Isco came off the bench in the 80th minute and played a part in the second goal. The excellent Carvajal was again the instigator, setting off on a barnstorming break forward before exchanging with Isco and crossing. In the rush, Benzema did well to pick out Vazquez, who poked home to complete a convincing win.