Republican Senator Lindsay Graham: ‘Pollsters, you have no idea what you’re doing’ Republican Senator Lindsay Graham: ‘Pollsters, you have no idea what you’re doing’

first_img“He’s gonna win. To all the pollsters out there, you have no idea what you’re doing,” Graham said. Republican Senator Lindsay Graham has mocked pollsters who predicted that Joe Biden was going to win the US presidential election, as he held onto his seat in South Carolina. The Senator, who is also the chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, has been a vigorous defender of President Trump.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img

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Cutting Greenhouse Gases From Food Production Is Urgent, Scientists Say Cutting Greenhouse Gases From Food Production Is Urgent, Scientists Say

first_imgFood production results in emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other planet-warming gases in many ways, including land clearing and deforestation for agriculture and grazing, digestion by cattle and other livestock, production and use of fertilizers and the cultivation of rice in flooded paddies. Overall emissions are equivalent to about 16 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide a year, or about 30 percent of total global emissions.- Advertisement – “There are so many different ways we can do this,” Dr. Clark added. “Every person has a role to play, every corporation as well. Through collective action and political will we can actually do this pretty rapidly.” The researchers forecast how emissions would change in coming decades as the world population grows, diets and consumption patterns change as some countries become more affluent, and crop yields increase. They found that food-related emissions alone would quite likely result in the world exceeding the 1.5 degree Celsius limit in 30 to 40 years. Food emissions alone would bring the world close to the 2-degree limit by 2100. Rising greenhouse gas emissions from worldwide food production will make it extremely difficult to limit global warming to the targets set in the Paris climate agreement, even if emissions from fossil-fuel burning were halted immediately, scientists reported Thursday.But they said that meeting one of the targets, limiting overall warming this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, could be achieved through “rapid and ambitious” changes to the global food system over the next several decades, including adopting plant-rich diets, increasing crop yields and reducing food waste.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – “If we’re trying to meet the 1.5-degree Celsius target there is no single silver bullet that is going to get us there,” said Michael Clark, a researcher at the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford in England and the lead author of the new research, an analysis of the climate effects of global food production published in the journal Science. “But together all of them will.”Meeting the 2-degree Celsius target would be easier, Dr. Clark said. But in both cases, he added, the analysis is based on immediately reaching “net zero” emissions from the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, transportation and industry. Although countries have pledged to reduce them, current fossil-fuel emissions are nowhere near zero, and once they are factored in, he said, “any food transition probably needs to be larger and faster.” While the world tends to focus on reducing emissions from fossil-fuel burning, the new study shows cutting emissions from food is crucial, too, the researchers said.“Food systems are sort of the dark horse of climate change,” said Jason Hill, senior author of the paper and a professor at the University of Minnesota. Brent Loken, the global lead food scientist for the World Wildlife Fund, who was not involved in the research, said the study was “one more piece of evidence that supports what many people are saying,” that climate goals cannot be reached without changes in the food system.“It’s really less about where food system is today, and more about where it’s heading,” he said.Analyses in recent years have pointed to the need to alter diets and make other changes in the food system both to improve human health and make the system more sustainable. Dr. Loken, for example, was a co-author of a report by the EAT-Lancet Commission, an international group of scientists, that recommended a 50 percent reduction in global consumption of red meat and some other foods by 2050.Dr. Loken said that without changes, food emissions were expected to double by 2050. “And the wiggle room to meet the Paris limits is so small,” he said.Dr. Hill said that the study did not consider potential shifts like the entire world population adopting a vegan diet. “We wanted to present the ones that were realistic goals,” he said. “A plant-rich diet is a realistic goal. We’re not saying in this paper to hit these targets we have to give up animal products. But there need to be some dietary shifts toward the healthier diets.”Dr. Clark said that he was optimistic that dietary shifts and other changes in the food system could be made in time to have an effect on global warming. He and others are currently working on determining what policies and behavioral changes it may be possible to implement.“Maybe it’s a combination of nudges at grocery stores, and top-down policies from governments,” he said. “It could be very bureaucratic or individualistic.” – Advertisement –last_img read more

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With Ant’s IPO on hold, China emphasizes need for fintech regulation With Ant’s IPO on hold, China emphasizes need for fintech regulation

first_imgPeople walk past the headquarters of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, in Beijing, China September 28, 2018. Jason Lee | Reuters – Advertisement – On Monday, the China Securities Regulatory Commission said Ant Group’s controller Jack Ma, executive chairman Eric Jing and CEO Simon Hu were summoned and interviewed by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange.Also on Monday, regulators issued draft rules that sought to raise standards for online lending and limit the amount available for borrowing.The next day, the Shanghai Stock Exchange suspended the Ant IPO, citing the meeting and a change in the financial regulatory environment.PBOC Deputy Governor Liu Guoqiang told reporters on Friday the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s decision was made out of consideration for consumers’ interests and investors’ protection, ensuring healthy and stable development of the financial market in the long-term and in accordance with law.He also pledged that the central bank will “in accordance with the idea of regulating development and encouraging innovation, continue to carry out financial supervision according to law.” Liu said there must be equal financial innovation, protection of the economy and prevention of systemic financial risks.The two officials were speaking at a press conference on efforts to improve the financial system’s support for businesses and economic growth in China. They did not comment specifically on Ma’s controversial speech last month, which appeared to criticize regulators.Fintech’s role in a state-dominated systemChina’s state-dominated banking sector has preferred to lend to state-owned businesses, rather than privately run businesses. The argument is the private and far smaller companies lack proof for their ability to repay a loan in an environment without a standard credit score system.Smaller businesses have turned to other sources, including the off-balance sheet shadow banking sector, which refers to activities performed by financial firms outside the formal banking sector and can be subject to lower levels of regulatory oversight.More recently, big data analysis run by companies such as Ant and collaboration with banks have helped to better qualify businesses’ ability to take on loans.As of the end of June, the balance of China’s commercial banks’ consumer loans sourced from tech firms was 1.43 trillion yuan ($216.08 billion), according to the PBOC. – Advertisement – BEIJING — Just days after the abrupt suspension of Ant Group’s IPO — which was set to be the world’s largest offering — China’s financial authorities emphasized the need to ensure sufficient regulation.But they did not discourage entities from working with Ant — an Alibaba-affiliate which runs one of the two major mobile payments systems in the country, Alipay, and operates many subsidiaries for tech-driven business lending and personal investment. Ant also has many partnerships with major banks and financial institutions.Ant Group’s dual listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong was originally planned for Thursday, but it was called off just two days before then.- Advertisement –center_img Chinese authorities stepped up efforts to improve lending to privately run, smaller businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic this year. According to the PBOC’s Liu, policies such as reducing fees and deferring debt repayment have released 1.25 trillion yuan into the economy as of October, nearing the goal of 1.5 trillion yuan for the year.Chinese regulation can initially be far looser than in other countries, allowing rampant growth of an industry before cracking down harshly. One example is the peer-to-peer lending industry, in which many companies took money from investors by claiming to use technology to connect consumers with loans or high-yielding investment products before they collapsed and regulators stepped in.At Friday’s press meeting, Liu Fushou, Chief Counsel of China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said the number of operating peer-to-peer lending companies declined from a peak of around 5,000 companies to currently three lenders, which he did not name. The scale of loans and participating individuals has declined for 28 straight months — or two years and four months, he added.“On one hand, we support reasonable innovation in the financial industry under the premise of controllable risks,” the banking commission’s Liu said. “At the same time, (we) maintain that innovation serves the real economy and must contribute to it.” At the end of October, China’s financial stability committee said at a meeting that financial technology is developing quickly, and the relationship between financial development, stability and security must be handled well.- Advertisement – “At the same time, (regarding) Ant Group, as a large privately run enterprise, we also hope everyone, in accordance with the rules and regulations, can together maintain and carry out cooperative business,” said Liang Tao, vice chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission. That’s according to a CNBC translation of his Mandarin-language remarks.As mobile payments and online banking emerged in China over the years, Liang said the commission had issued relevant financial industry licenses, while keeping consumers’ interests in mind.last_img read more

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Apple unveils first Mac computers powered by its own M1 chip Apple unveils first Mac computers powered by its own M1 chip

first_img– Advertisement – Tim Cook later said “we put a lot of love into it”… but it was a “spectacular failure commercially”.- Advertisement –last_img

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DWTS’ Cheryl Burke Backs Carrie Ann Inaba After Kaitlyn, Artem Criticism DWTS’ Cheryl Burke Backs Carrie Ann Inaba After Kaitlyn, Artem Criticism

first_imgOn her side. Cheryl Burke has Carrie Ann Inaba’s back amid criticism for how she’s judged Kaitlyn Bristowe and ex Artem Chigvintsev on Dancing With the Stars this season.“I think that [when] you are saying ‘yes’ to being a judge, then with that comes backlash. You saying ‘yes’ to being on television — I mean, it kind of is what it is, right? Now, it’s up to you on how you want to react to all of these people, these trolls or the negativity,” the pro dancer, 36, told Us Weekly and other reporters after the Monday, November 9, episode. “It’s also how you see and perceive it. I tend to just not look at social media, period, when I’m doing a show like this. I’ve realized and I’ve experienced me being affected by that one negative comment or whatever it might be.”Cheryl Burke Defends Carrie Ann Inaba After Kaitlyn Bristowe Artem CriticismCheryl Burke, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Artem Chigvintsev and Carrie Ann Inaba. ABC/Kelsey McNeal; ABC/Laretta Houston; ABC/Kelsey McNeal- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Inaba, 52, spoke out amid backlash from DWTS viewers regarding the feedback she has given Bristowe and Chigvintsev, whom she previously dated from 2006 to 2009. Earlier this month, she said that she’s been getting “bullied” by fans after how she judged the pair’s jive on November 2.Cheryl Burke Defends Carrie Ann Inaba After Kaitlyn Bristowe Artem CriticismCheryl Burke. ABC/Laretta Houston“I can’t believe it still happens as adults,” she explained on the November 3 episode of The Talk. “I want to tell people who bully: It doesn’t make me change the way I judge. I’m not about to change because you try to bully me. It only makes me stand stronger in my convictions and what I believe in.”In response to the backlash against Inaba, Chigvintsev has said that he doesn’t believe his ex-girlfriend has a “personal agenda” when critiquing him and Bristowe. “I don’t think it has anything to do with it,” the Russia native, 38, explained to Us and other reporters on Monday. “I think she just really was harsh in the sense that she saw so much more potential than what we’ve been delivering the past two weeks, and she finally got things that she’s been wanting to see.”- Advertisement – Burke continued, “I think you just have to know yourself and know your job is to judge and do it with integrity and making sure that you are helping the couple and not just giving them a comment that is something that they can’t work on, or maybe it’s not detailed enough.”The San Francisco native admitted that she does “agree” with Inaba’s criticism of the 35-year-old former Bachelorette, noting that she “absolutely” believes that Bristowe could “attack things more” during her performances with Chigvintsev. Additionally, the two-time winner argued that contestants with past dance experience like Bristowe — who previously moved to Vancouver for a dance scholarship and later became a spin instructor — are “hurt” more than “somebody with zero dance experience” coming into the competition.“The show is like Survivor meets Dancing With the Stars. The one who can survive [and] who is the most mentally fit I think is the one that will go out there and be resilient,” she explained. “It doesn’t matter what comments are going back and forth, it doesn’t matter about the bullying because at the end of the day, you’re here as a judge to make them improve as a dancer and hopefully also as a person. There’s a bigger picture to it all.”- Advertisement – Bristowe, for her part, recently explained on her “Off the Vine” podcast that Inaba is “totally allowed” to have her own opinions, adding: “I’m allowed to not agree with them or feel hurt by them, but it doesn’t mean people need to go and bully on her. I heard that she feels bullied and that makes me feel so terrible because I’ve been bullied so hard online.”Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.With reporting by Kayley StumpeListen to Watch With Us to hear more about your favorite shows and for the latest TV news!last_img read more

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Trump and the GOP are laying the groundwork for a coup. Where are Democratic leaders? Trump and the GOP are laying the groundwork for a coup. Where are Democratic leaders?

first_imgDonald Trump’s refusal to accept the reality that Joe Biden won last week’s election is not merely an overgrown child’s tantrum. By deliberately seeking to undermine the results, Trump and a wide swath of Republican leaders are laying the groundwork to overturn them—an act that, were we watching it unfold abroad, we’d call a coup d’état. Just consider:Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t acknowledged Biden’s victory.Sec. of State Mike Pompeo has promised there will be “a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.”Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt says that Trump “may have not have been defeated at all.”Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson says he won’t congratulate Biden because “there’s nothing to congratulate him about.”The White House is reportedly vetting appointees for a second Trump term.Attorney General Bill Barr has issued a memo authorizing federal prosecutors to pursue claims of voter fraud.And Trump’s legal team continues to pursue baseless litigation promoting unfounded conspiracy theories.These are not the actions of a president and political party prepared to peacefully hand over power after losing an election. They are the exact opposite: a deliberate strategy seeking to annul the expression of the popular will. It is a dangerous scheme that, at best, will fray confidence in our already fragile democracy. At worst, it will succeed and keep Trump in office against all right and all law.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – center_img This is, of course, exactly what we expected from Trump. But where are Democratic leaders in denouncing this with the righteous fury this moment requires? Why have we not seen Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, their chief lieutenants, and their most prominent allies all gather before the Capitol and, in one voice, expose this plot against America for what it is?We can’t just let Trump play out the string. We can’t, as one nameless Republican pleaded, “humor him” while we tell ourselves, “Jan. 20 can’t come soon enough.” The peril is too great. Trump’s attempted coup probably will not succeed, but that is not a good or acceptable reason to ignore it. Even if it fails, Trump can do great damage on his way out.Top Democrats must stand up for democracy while there is still time, to show the country and the world that we will not tolerate the GOP’s assault on this great nation and all it stands for. The stakes are too high to delay any longer.- Advertisement –last_img read more

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Buy these European value stocks during market dips: Alvine Capital Buy these European value stocks during market dips: Alvine Capital

first_imgWith European markets expected to remain fairly volatile into the New Year, one institutional investor recommends using any dips to buy some “incredibly cheap” stocks. – Advertisement – Andia | UIG | Getty Images – Advertisement –center_img Stephen Isaacs, chairman of the investment committee at institutional advisory firm Alvine Capital, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Wednesday that he expects containment measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus in Europe to remain in place for at least the remainder of 2020. As a result, he believes European markets will remain “pretty choppy” in the coming weeks. last_img read more

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Facebook Hearing: Former Employee Appears Before Delhi Assembly Panel Facebook Hearing: Former Employee Appears Before Delhi Assembly Panel

first_imgA former Facebook employee told a Delhi Assembly panel that violence in the national capital in February this year could have been easily averted if the social media giant had acted in a proactive and prompt manner.The Committee on Peace and Harmony, headed by Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha, had summoned the former Facebook employee Mark S Luckie in the wake of several allegations of culpability of the social media platform in the riots in Delhi earlier this year.- Advertisement – “He (Mark S Luckie) also asserted the events like Delhi communal clashes, Myanmar genocide and Sri Lanka Communal violence could have been easily averted had Facebook acted in a more proactive and prompt manner,” read a release by Committee on Peace and Harmony.Luckie, during his tenure at Facebook, has actively worked with various core teams made extremely scathing revelations on the internal functioning of Facebook, thus spilling beans on the entire organisational structure of Facebook globally as well as regionally.During the course of the deposition, Luckie affirmed that there has been repeated interference by the top officials of the Facebook teams including their policy heads at the instance of the political parties upon the content moderation teams which has caused eventual compromise in the execution of their own community standards, read the release.- Advertisement – He alleged that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also partakes in various liaisons with different political parties across the globe in order to earn special benefits or favours as it is of common knowledge that many prominent politically figures seek his indulgence every now and then.According to the Committee on Peace and Harmony, Luckie also spoke about the recruitment process of the top heads of the Company where he signified that for an extremely important post like that of Public Policy Head, persons having cordial government relations or having special political affiliations and who have strong hold on lobbying within the government are preferred, a practice which in itself casts a shadow of doubt on the ”politically agnostic management” stance which Facebook often tries to shields under. center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

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New York man has first US anthrax case since 2001 New York man has first US anthrax case since 2001

first_imgFeb 22, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – A 44-year-old New York City man has inhalational anthrax—the first US case since 2001—possibly as a result of using African animal hides to make drums, Pennsylvania and federal officials announced today. The PDH said there was no sign of an intentional release of anthrax and no risk that the man would spread anthrax to healthcare workers or others. Inhalational anthrax is not known to spread from person to person. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the CDC, the FBI, and the PDH are working on the investigation, the PDH said. Rotz said the CDC reconfirmed the patient’s anthrax diagnosis with additional testing this morning and is running further tests. The agency has assigned physicians who were involved in the 2001 anthrax response to help treat the patient, she added. Rotz said the “hypothesis” that the man contracted anthrax from the hides he works with is based on interviews with him and his wife and work by New York City and Pennsylvania authorities. The drum maker was in fair condition today, according to Dr. Lisa Rotz, a medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who spoke at a teleconference this afternoon. Authorities plan to examine his work and storage area in Brooklyn, N.Y., as well as his home, according to the PDH. Investigators also plan to talk with people who may have had contact with the man’s hides or work area and to contact members of the dance company he performed with. The man collapsed and was hospitalized after performing in a concert in Mansfield, Pa., Feb 16, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDH) said in a news release. Blood tests at the hospital indicated possible anthrax on Feb 20, and further testing in a PDH lab confirmed the anthrax diagnosis yesterday, officials said. In response to questions, Rotz said it was not known specifically how the patient brought African hides into the United States. “We’re working with our division of quarantine and the USDA [US Department of Agriculture] to identify how he was able to bring the hides in,” she said. She explained that the USDA regulates importation of hides. “I’m told by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and clinicians treating him that they’re very optimistic and happy with the way he’s progressing,” Rotz said. The concert in which the patient performed was at Mansfield University, the PDH said. The department has sent a team there to talk with people who may have attended the concert, said PDH Secretary Dr. Calvin B. Johnson. “The patient has a history of contact with unprocessed animal hides and recently traveled to Africa, where he purchased unprocessed hides, which were then transported to New York City,” the PDH release said. “The patient makes drums from the unprocessed animal hides. Unprocessed animal hides can be a source of anthrax spores.” CIDRAP overview of anthrax Five people died of inhalational anthrax and another 17 fell ill after someone mailed anthrax-laced letters to several US media outlets and a US senator’s office in 2001. But anthrax disease most commonly occurs as a result of contact with tissues or hides of infected livestock or eating undercooked meat from infected animals. Spores of Bacillus anthracis are found in soil in many parts of the world, and the disease occasionally occurs in US cattle. See also: The last naturally occurring human anthrax case in the United States was a case of cutaneous (skin) disease early in 2001, according to Rotz. The country had not had a naturally occurring case of inhalational anthrax since 1976, she said. The PDH statement listed the patient as being in stable condition at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa.last_img read more

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Studies: Novel H1N1 affects deep lung tissue, transmits fairly well Studies: Novel H1N1 affects deep lung tissue, transmits fairly well

first_imgJul 2, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The novel H1N1 (swine) influenza now circling the globe causes more serious lung disease than seasonal flu strains and sheds from the lung and throat tissue where it reproduces at higher rates, according to two animal studies published today—findings that could explain autopsies and case reports of severe pneumonia as well as the virus’s rapid spread.And while the studies, conducted in ferrets and mice, agree that the new flu passes fairly well between individuals, they disagree over the effectiveness of different modes of transmission.A team from Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands found that the virus transmits easily between ferrets housed in cages whose walls are 4 inches apart. But a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the novel virus only transmitted well when the ferrets shared direct contact—a sign, that team said, that the new virus has not yet fully adapted to mammals.The European team, though, warned that the new H1N1 is adapted enough to compete with seasonal flu strains for turf in humans. It “has the ability to persist in the human population, potentially with more severe clinical consequences,” they wrote.Both studies were published online today by the journal Science.CDC/MIT: Deeper infections with novel H1N1In the study from the CDC and MIT group, investigators tested the ability of three different novel H1N1 isolates to cause disease in ferrets and mice and assessed the transmissibility of the new virus in ferrets by comparing it to a seasonal H1N1 virus.Ferrets groups were inoculated intranasally with one of the four viruses, then 24 hours later were either placed in the same cage with flu-naive ferrets to gauge contact transmission or were placed in a cage adjacent to naive animals to test droplet transmission. Researchers monitored ferrets’ clinical signs for 14 days.Investigators measured transmission by assessing viral titers in nasal washes and by detecting viral antibodies in the blood of recovering animals.The animals that received the novel flu viruses lost more weight than the ones that were infected with the seasonal flu strain. Viral shedding patterns were similar for the novel flu groups and the seasonal flu group.Investigators, however, detected high titers of viruses in the lower respiratory tracts of animals infected with two of the three novel H1N1 viruses but not the seasonal flu virus. The group also found the novel flu virus in the intestinal tracts of the novel-H1N1–infected animals, consistent with gastrointestinal symptoms that have been reported in humans infected with the new virus.Direct contact vs droplet spreadIn the transmission comparison arm of the study, the researchers found that the seasonal H1N1 virus transmitted quickly and completely by droplet transmission and direct contact among the ferrets. However, the novel H1N1 viruses did not spread by droplets to all ferrets, and transmission was delayed by 5 or more days in two of six infected pairs.The group wrote that their findings suggest the morbidity and lung viral titers are higher in ferrets infected with the novel H1N1 virus and that, while the virus spread completely among contact group, it did not always spread to the ferrets in the droplet transmission group.”This lack of efficient respiratory droplet transmission suggests that additional virus adaptation in mammals may be required to reach the high-transmissible phenotypes observed with seasonal H1N1 or the 1918 pandemic virus,” the group wrote.In just one of the puzzles presented by the new virus, the CDC-MIT team found that the novel H1N1 lacks two genetic characteristics that normally encourage flu viruses to bind to the respiratory tract and replicate: an affinity for alpha-2,6 receptors in the lungs, and an amino acid substitution in a gene known as PB2 (for polymerase basic protein 2) that allows the virus to replicate at airway temperatures.The lack of those two features suggests that the new flu has not completed its adaptation to humans, and “should be closely monitored as markers for enhanced virus transmission,” the authors wrote.Terrence Tumpey, PhD, the study’s corresponding author and senior microbiologist in the CDC’s influenza division, told CIDRAP News that the study shows that the new virus is transmitting, but not quite as well as seasonal strains. “Seasonal strains transmit like clockwork as soon as we push the cages together,” he added.Researchers who have worked with ferrets during influenza studies can readily tell the difference when they stand outside the cages and listen for sneezes, he said. Ferrets infected with seasonal strains sneeze frequently, those inoculated with avian influenza strains sneeze hardly at all, and those who are sick with the new H1N1 virus sneeze somewhere in between those two levels, Tumpey said.”We think it [the new virus] could still make additional changes to become more transmissible,” Tumpey said. “We need to keep a close eye on the virus and monitor for changes.”Dutch study: High transmission with droplets and aerosolIn the Dutch study, ferrets were inoculated with a novel H1N1 from the first known case in the Netherlands, a 3-year-old child who had developed a fever and respiratory symptoms and recovered. (Genomic analysis showed that the virus from the Dutch child was only minimally different from the California isolate used in the CDC study.)The virus was administered to ferrets, and their course was compared to that of ferrets given a seasonal flu virus isolated in the Netherlands in the 2006-2007 season.Across the board, the ferrets that received the novel H1N1 shed 1.5 times more virus from their respiratory tracts than ferrets infected with seasonal flu. Virus was present in their lungs and trachea, rather than just in their noses, and they also experienced more tissue damage that went deeper into their lungs.In the most striking difference from the CDC group, the ferrets in the Dutch study caught the H1N1 flu from one another “via aerosol or respiratory droplets.” In another difference, the Dutch study did not find any viral replication outside the animals’ respiratory tracts; livers, spleens, kidneys and brains were free of H1N1 on necropsy. (There was no indication the Dutch team did pathology on their ferrets’ intestinal tracts.)Though the ferrets in the Dutch study were moderately ill at most, the authors warned that the novel H1N1’s ability to transmit easily and replicate throughout the respiratory tract could make it a serious health threat in humans. Because seasonal flu strains replicate high in the nose and throat, and avian flu replicates deep in the airways, co-infection with either could product a reassorted virus that causes more serious human disease or picks up drug-resistance factors from currently circulating seasonal strains, they said.Transmission around globe not slowingLending anecdotal credence to the transmissibility of novel H1N1 has been its continued spread among people worldwide. As community spread of the virus takes hold in more parts of the world, the virus is showing up anywhere that groups of people gather, such as:Summer camps. Officials from the Muscular Dystrophy Association shuttered the group’s summer camps after the virus was detected at several locations, prompting the CDC to issue new guidance.Prisons. The virus struck a women’s prison near Miami, sickening at least six women, with more than a dozen other suspected cases, and the virus is suspected at a facility in Queensland, AustraliaAthletic events. Members of a women’s basketball team returning to Iraq were confirmed as the country’s first cases, an Australian athlete was infected with the virus at the World University Games in Belgrade, and flu fears surfaced this week as some Wimbledon players became ill.Cruise ships. Three crew members on a Seattle-Alaska cruise were isolated in their rooms after testing positive for the virus, and a Dutch boat based in Aruba was turned away from different ports in the Caribbean after some crew and passengers began showing symptoms.In addition, earlier this week, health authorities from Saudi Arabia warned high-risk groups to avoid the hajj pilgrimage that starts in late November because the crowded setting could post a flu-transmission risk. And a study that appeared this week in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that of 20 countries that had the highest travel volume to Mexico in 2007 and 2008, 16 had experienced recent novel H1N1 importations from the country.Commenting on this community spread during the summer months, influenza expert William C. Schaffner, MD, told CIDRAP News, “This transmission in summer camps reminds us that not all summer camps are rural, with kids living in open cabins. There are many summer camps that resemble school—my grandchildren just went to theater summer camp; other kids go to computer or music summer camps.”That plus the fact that this is a new virus, in a completely susceptible population, namely children and young adults, is clearly contributing to this ongoing transmission. I don’t mind saying the degree of transmission has surprised me and frankly most of my colleagues also.”Schaffner, professor and chair in the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, added “I think the ongoing transmission this summer and what we know is happening in the southern hemisphere—in Argentina and in Australia and New Zealand—is going to be a harbinger of what is going to happen this next influenza season in the United States.”We all anticipate that H1N1 will be a dominant if not the dominant influenza strain.”Maines TR, Jayaraman A, Belser J, et al. Transmission and pathogenesis of swine-origin 2009 A(H1N1) influenza viruses in ferrets and mice. Science 2009 Jul 2; early online edition: [Abstract]Munster VJ, de Wit E, van den Brand JM, et al. Pathogenesis and transmission of swine-origin 2009 A(H1N1) influenza virus in ferrets Science 2009 Jul 2; early online edition: [Abstract]See also:Khan K, Arino J, Hu W, et al. Spread of a novel influenza A (H1N1) virus via global airline transportation. (Letter) N Engl J Med 2009 Jul 9;361:212-4 [Full text]last_img read more

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