More human H5N1 cases reported in Turkey, Indonesia

first_imgJan 17, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – More cases of human illness and death were laid at the door of the H5N1 virus in Turkey and Indonesia today.The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday confirmed the death from H5N1 of a 5-year-old boy from Dogubayazit district in Turkey’s eastern Agri province. His 14-year-old sister had died on Jan 15, and results on Monday confirmed her death was from H5N1.The WHO’s situation update says the newly confirmed human cases bring the total in Turkey to 20, of which 4 have been fatal. The agency has not adjusted its case-count chart to reflect those numbers, pending confirmation by a WHO partner laboratory in the United Kingdom.The agency’s update emphasized that to date all human H5N1 infections followed “direct exposure to diseased poultry.” WHO noted that in the most recent case described above, the children fell ill after slaughtering a duck from their home flock. Ducks in that flock had begun dying Jan 1, WHO said.Late this afternoon, an Associated Press (AP) report from Ankara said initial tests on another child showed H5N1 infection, which if confirmed would bring the number of human cases in Turkey to 21. The child is from Dogubayazit and is hospitalized in the eastern city of Erzurum, a health ministry official told the AP.Also in Ankara today, a WHO official said Turkey’s outbreak has a lower case-fatality rate than outbreaks in Southeast Asia, according to a story by the United Nations Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) news.”Turkey is seeing a fatality rate of 20 percent, which is lower than the fatality rate observed in Asia, which was around 58 percent,” Cristiana Salvi, a WHO spokeswoman in Turkey, told IRIN. But she added a caveat: “There could be other factors which we are investigating as a lot of cases are still in hospital.”Cases reported in Indonesian siblingsInIndonesia, local tests confirmed that a 13-year-old girl’s death Jan 14 in Indramayu, West Java, was due to H5N1 infection, according to a Reuters story from the online edition of The Jakarta Post. Her 3-year-old brother, who died today, was also being tested, as was a surviving sister, Reuters reported. The boy’s initial test was positive, but a subsequent local test was inconclusive, an Indonesian health ministry official told Reuters.A Hong Kong laboratory has also confirmed local test results showing that a 29-year-old woman who died Jan 11 at Sulianti Saroso Hospital in Jakarta had avian flu, The Jakarta Post reported today. Her death raised the number of human H5N1 deaths in Indonesia to 13, with 20 total cases, the newspaper said. A WHO update on Jan 14 confirmed the 29-year-old’s cause of death and said her case brought the total in Indonesia to 17, with 12 fatalities.The WHO described the woman as a midwife at a maternity ward in a Jakarta hospital, but said it was unlikely that she became infected on the job. Instead, WHO is investigating her neighborhood and a live-bird market she visited days before she fell sick. Contact tracing has not shown any evidence that the woman infected other people, WHO noted.Turkey’s poultry surveillance criticizedA nine-page report from Turkish authorities to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), dated today, indicates that two of Turkey’s poultry outbreaks began Nov 25 and 29, 2005. However, reports from Turkey to the OIE on Dec 8, 2005, do not reflect those outbreaks.A report by Bloomberg News today describes a “second wave” of poultry outbreaks that weren’t reported to OIE for more than 3 weeks.”We think that the condition of veterinary infrastructure in eastern Turkey led to this delay on the information,” Bernard Vallat, director-general of the OIE, told Bloomberg from Beijing today. “To manage avian flu in animals, time is a crucial point because if a country is in a position to have a rapid response within two days, the cost of the management is very low, compared with a delay of three or four days. The spread of the disease is exponential, which is why time is crucial.”See also:Jan 16 WHO update 14 WHO update’s outbreak report to OIE read more

Property tax limits under debate in Iowa legislature

first_imgDES MOINES — Republicans in the House and Senate have drafted bills they say will “slow down the growth of property taxes.”Six years ago, Iowa lawmakers cut commercial and industrial property taxes by 10 percent. This year, GOP Senators have proposed limiting tax increases on all classes of property to no more than three percent.“Commercial/industrial taxpayers continue to see a lot of increases. We’re concerned about those increases,” Nicole Crain said this week during a senate subcommittee meeting. “We really think that putting a cap on local governments is a way to help control some of those increases that we’ve seen.”According to Matt Steinfeldt of the Iowa Farm Bureau, property tax payments in Iowa have doubled since the year 2000.“The total of property taxes collected this year will be over $5.75 billion,” Steinfeldt said. “The growth of property taxes is outpacing the economy. It’s outpacing Iowans’ ability to pay.”Critics say the limit will restrict the ability of growing communities to pay for needed infrastructure and services. Ames Mayor John Haila told senators there’s “amazing” expansion in his city’s research park.“As we continue to grow, we need a fourth fire station. We can bond for it, but it’s going to cost us $1.3 million for the fire fighters to fill it every year,” he said. “If this bill goes through and the cap goes through as it is, we won’t be able to do that.”Brett Barker, the mayor of the city of Nevada, is also chairman of Story County Republicans. He told legislators their proposal may have unintended consequences.“Ultimately cities aren’t created equally. We all have different challenges. We all have unique situations and I think local officials are most in tune with our communities,” he said. “We hear them.”Republicans in the Iowa House have a property tax plan that addresses any increase above two percent. Citizens would be able to petition for a referendum if a city council or county board of supervisors proposes increasing property taxes by more than two percent.last_img read more