USDA inspector general says BSE hunt is flawed

first_img At a news briefing yesterday, Ron DeHaven, administrator of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), said that the report largely reflects the surveillance program as it existed in March and that USDA is already addressing many of the problems cited in the document. The USDA posted a transcript of the briefing on its Web site. Before the nation’s first BSE case was found in Washington last December, the USDA had been testing about 20,000 cattle per year for BSE, focusing on disabled cattle and those showing possible signs of central nervous system (CNS) disease. After the first case turned up, the department moved to increase testing. The expanded surveillance was launched in June with the aim of testing more than 200,000 cattle over the next 12 to 18 months. DeHaven also asserted, “Nothing in the report would suggest there has been any compromise to public health.” He said the USDA continues to take the most important precaution for protecting the public from BSE-tainted meat products: removing high-risk cattle parts, or specified-risk materials, from carcasses destined for the food supply. The report says the plan is based on some questionable assumptions, does not accurately reflect the geographic distribution of cattle, and does not ensure the testing of all high-risk cattle. In addition, the report says that in the past 2 to 3 years, more than 500 cattle that had possible symptoms of neurologic disease were not tested for BSE. Masters said the inspector general’s office has found “no evidence of any records falsification by FSIS or USDA employees related to the downer cow.” DeHaven said it is not unusual for a cow with neurologic disease to go down and appear disabled but later get up again. Testing only 20,000 apparently healthy older cattle may not give an accurate measure of the prevalence of BSE in the 45 million adult cattle in the nation. “The problems disclosed during our review, if not corrected, may negatively impact the effectiveness of USDA’s overall BSE surveillance program . . . and reduce the credibility of any assertions regarding the prevalence of BSE in the United States,” the 54-page report states. Also at the news briefing, Barbara Masters, acting APHIS administrator, said a separate inspector general’s investigation has turned up no evidence of wrongdoing in the USDA’s assessment of the cow in Washington that was found to have BSE. A USDA veterinarian at the slaughter plant had examined the cow and determined that it was unable to walk, but others at the plant have alleged they saw the cow walking. The inspector general’s report cites several alleged flaws in the expanded surveillance program: Transcript of Jul 13 USDA news briefinghttp://www.usda.gov/Newsroom/0289.04.html Some of the dead cattle were collected directly from farms, while others were collected at rendering plants and salvage plants, DeHaven said. But regardless of where samples were collected, “for the most part those are animals off the farm,” he added. Concerning the charge that many cattle with signs of CNS disease have not been tested, DeHaven said, “We’re not focusing on the past but ensuring that in this program and in the future we do collect those samples. So we have, for example, instructed our field staff, when in doubt take a sample.” The current plan will not permit APHIS to obtain “a statistically appropriate geographical representation of the US cattle population.” The report says the surveillance as it has operated in recent months illustrate the problems with the USDA approach. In particular, of 680 cattle that were condemned at slaughter facilities because of possible CNS signs from fiscal years 2002 to 2004, it appears that only 162 were tested for BSE. The report blamed this on confusion over testing requirements and lack of coordination between APHIS and the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The draft report was released a day early by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who has been a critic of the USDA. It was scheduled to be released today at a hearing of the House Committee on Government Reform. At the news briefing, as recorded in the transcript, DeHaven insisted that USDA is “testing precisely the population of animals that we should be testing,” including those with possible signs of CNS disease, downer cattle, and those that die before reaching a slaughter plant. Keith Collins, the USDA’s chief economist, acknowledged there is room for debate about the USDA’s assumption that BSE is found only in cattle classified as high-risk. He said it “is not an assumption that is right or wrong,” but one that makes it possible to estimate the sensitivity of the testing program. Following the report’s recommendation, he said, “We are going to look at alternative approaches to that and see if we can provide a fuller context of the sampling program.” The testing effort focuses on cattle that can’t walk (downers), those showing CNS signs or other possible signs of BSE, and those that die on farms. Plans also call for testing about 20,000 apparently healthy older cattle, chosen at random. If 268,000 cattle are tested, the program should make it possible to identify the disease at a level of 1 case in 10 million cattle with 99% confidence, the USDA has said. In addition, USDA has not “adequately pursued” BSE testing for cattle that showed signs of rabies but tested negative for that disease, according to the inspector general. Laboratories that handle rabies testing have not consistently submitted rabies-negative samples for BSE testing, because there has been no formal mechanism for that. He said that in June, the first month of the expanded testing program, APHIS succeeded in testing samples from many cattle that died on farms: about 70% of the 11,000 cattle tested were in that category. He said officials had previously estimated that “dead animals” would constitute about 56% of all high-risk cattle. APHIS cannot easily identify and test all the cattle in the high-risk population, especially those that die on farms, which make up the largest share of high-risk cattle. DeHaven said inspector general’s reports ordinarily are not released until the agencies involved have had a chance to review and comment on them. Jul 14, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – A draft report by the inspector general of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says the department’s expanded surveillance program for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has several flaws that could lead to unreliable estimates of the prevalence of BSE in American cattle. See also: The plan assumes that BSE is confined to high-risk cattle, but studies show that healthy-looking animals can have the disease.last_img read more

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Funding for animal ID and tracking announced by USDA

first_img “This first phase of funding to states and tribes takes us closer to our goal of implementing a national animal identification system (NAIS) for all U.S. livestock and poultry animals,” Veneman said on Aug 5. The project aims to create a system to identify farms and other sites exposed to foreign animal diseases. Grants range from $1.2 million (for a tri-national proposal that includes the Navajo and Hopi tribes; Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico, and Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico) to $50,000 for the Texas-Oklahoma-Osage Nation NAIS project. The $11.64 million is part of $18.8 million budgeted for NAIS this year. The remaining funds are being used for developing the database infrastructure, training at state and federal levels, and launching an education and outreach campaign to improve voluntary cooperation, said Amy Spillman, APHIS spokeswoman. The program is tentatively budgeted at $33 million next year. Aug 11, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Twenty-nine states and tribal projects will receive $11.64 million in federal grants to develop livestock identification and tracking systems, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman has announced. The 29 recent grant recipients can register sites through USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) or other accepted tracking system. Their funded plans call for electronically collecting intra- and interstate animal movement records, integrating data-collection technologies at livestock marketing facilities and processing plants, tracking imported livestock, and electronically gathering animal movement data as livestock are loaded on and off trucks and trailers, according to a USDA news release. See also: center_img Last December’s discovery of a cow in Washington state with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) heightened concerns about animal tracking in part because officials never found all the cattle from her birth herd. The grants come just 3 months after the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it would spend $18.8 million for a national system to help contain animal disease outbreaks. The department’s eventual goal is to be able to identify all animals and premises that have had direct contact with a foreign animal disease or disease of concern within 48 hours of discovery, USDA said. USDA news releasehttp://www.usda.gov/Newsroom/0325.04.htmllast_img read more

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NIAID, MedImmune team up to develop pandemic flu vaccines

first_imgSep 28, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The federal government and MedImmune Inc. announced today they will collaborate to develop vaccines for potential pandemic strains of influenza, using the technology that was used to create the company’s nasal-spray flu vaccine, FluMist.The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) will work with MedImmune, based in Gaithersburg, Md., to develop vaccines for many flu virus strains, a project that will take years, according to a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcement.The company said in a news release, “MedImmune scientists will work together with leading researchers of the NIAID Laboratory of Infectious Diseases to produce and test versions of MedImmune’s attenuated, live intranasal influenza vaccine for use against different types of potential pandemic influenza strains, including one based on H5N1,” the avian flu strain now endemic in Southeast Asia.HHS said the plan calls for inserting “selected genes from avian flu viruses with pandemic potential into a weakened human flu virus” to create several live virus vaccine candidates. The NIAID part of the effort will be led by Kanta Subbarao, MD, MPH, and Brian Murphy, MD.HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said the partnership “will help speed the process of developing vaccines we will need to fight an outbreak if the avian flu starts to spread rapidly through the human population.”NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, said he couldn’t predict how long it might take to ready the first candidate vaccines for clinical trials. “But given the fact that these are things we do regularly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the first one went into clinical trials in a year or two,” he told CIDRAP News.NIAID and MedImmune will develop at least one vaccine for each of the 16 different forms of hemagglutinin, a key protein on the surface of flu viruses, HHS officials said. (Hemagglutinin is represented by the H in the names of flu strains, such as H5N1.)The partners “will develop vaccines for the highest priority hemagglutinin subtypes first,” HHS said. “The researchers say it will take years to systematically develop vaccines for all the hemagglutinin subtypes. Having effective vaccines against all subtypes will help us prepare for influenza pandemics in the future, explains NIAID’s Dr. Subbarao.”Fauci said there is no preset time frame for the collaboration. “They’re just going to work closely and aggressively to get this library of viruses that covers the entire span of the hemagglutinin spectrum,” he said. “This is a years-long collaboration; it’s not going to be six months or something like that.”HHS and MedImmune officials wouldn’t say how the partnership will work financially.”What I can say is that MedImmune will not be reimbursed for any costs associated with development of vaccines, because MedImmune and NIAID are truly working in collaboration,” MedImmune spokeswoman Clarencia Stephen told CIDRAP News.The company said live attenuated vaccines may generate a broader immune response than injected vaccines. “One of the unique attributes of FluMist is that it provides both local and systemic immunity,” said Stephen. “It first induces an immune response in the nose, because it’s administered as a mist in the nose, and that’s typically where the flu virus enters the body. And then it also works systemically through the bloodstream.Fauci agreed that live vaccines can trigger “a more potent and broader immune response.” He added, “That’s very important when you’re dealing with pandemic flu. Virus drifts from the original vaccine, so you want a vaccine that covers that drift. Live vaccines do that better than killed vaccines.”HHS said the partners will develop many of the vaccines in the NIAID’s labs in Bethesda, Md. “Both NIAID and MedImmune will initially conduct laboratory studies of the vaccines,” the announcement said. “MedImmune then will manufacture the vaccines for human clinical trials, which NIAID will run through a contract facility, pending Food and Drug Administration approval.”The plan calls for the partners to use reverse genetics and “classical reassortment” to insert hemagglutinin genes into a weakened human flu virus, according to HHS. Reverse genetics is the use of lab methods to “custom make” a vaccine by assembling genes that code for desired features. Reassortment is the exchange of gene segments between two different viral strains inside a host cell to create a new strain.HHS said the partnership will build on research launched by the NIAID’s Murphy with John Maassab of the University of Michigan in the 1970s. They created a flu vaccine from a live but weakened flu virus. For added safety, they grew the vaccine in progressively cooler temperatures so it couldn’t spread beyond the relatively cool upper respiratory tract.This “cold-adapted” flu virus, owned by MedImmune, is the basis of FluMist, which also was developed jointly with NIAID, HHS said. “The researchers will use the same cold-adapted virus as the backbone for the pandemic influenza vaccines.”The government is already building a supply of an experimental vaccine for the H5N1 virus. The first clinical trial results were announced in August, and HHS announced on Sep 15 the award of a $100 million contract to Sanofi Pasteur to manufacture the vaccine. It is not yet known how many doses that contract will be worth, because the optimal dose has not been established.See also:Sept 28 HHS news releasehttp://archive.hhs.gov/news/press/2005pres/20050928.htmllast_img read more

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Potpisan Sporazum o zajedničkom financiranju državne brzobrodske linije Pula – Mali Lošinj – Zadar

first_imgThe agreement on joint financing of the state high-speed line 9141 Pula – Unije – Mali Lošinj – Ilovik – (Silba) – Zadar, was signed on Monday in the Ministry of the Sea, Transport and Infrastructure between the Coastal Transport Agency and representatives of counties and cities covered by the line. Primorje – Gorski Kotar and Zadar counties and the cities of Pula, Mali Lošinj and Zadar.It is a high-speed line, which by the decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia from December 2016, after several years of seasonal maintenance, became a year-round state line, and which transported more than 24 thousand passengers from June to August this year. The fee for the maintenance of this line for the period from June to December is about 4.5 million kuna, and its co-financing with 78.4 percent is provided by the Agency for Coastal Shipping, Istria, Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Zadar County with a total of 10.8 percent and the cities of Pula, Mali Lošinj and Zadar with a total of 10.8 percent.The agreement was signed by Agency Director  Paula Vidović , Zadar County Deputy Prefect  Šime Mršić , Primorje-Gorski Kotar County Deputy Prefect  Marina Medarić , Mali Lošinj  Mayor Ana Kučić , Pula Mayor  Boris Miletić  and Zadar Island Economy, Entrepreneurship and Development Head  Ivica Katić .In September, the State Aid Program for the Development of Ports Open to Public Transport for the Period 2017-2020 was adopted, which, for the first time, opens the possibility of using EUR 80 million in grants to finance projects from all 28 port authorities in all 7 coastal areas. – island counties. ” We will announce a tender to award grants to finance projects in ports, which should contribute to greater accessibility of islands throughout the year, better passenger services, greater environmental sustainability and traffic safety, as well as access to employment, education and other services to island communities. .”, Minister Butković pointed out and added that with this goal, only this year, HRK 55 million was allocated for the infrastructure of ports of county and local importance, and HRK 7 million for the reception of fishing boats in ports. Podsjetimo kako je od početka 2017. godine do srpnja ostvaren rast broja putnika od 8,6 posto i broja vozila od 9,3 posto, u odnosu na prethodnu 2016. godinu. Na potrebu daljnjeg razvijanja obalnog linijskog prometa osvrnula se državna tajnica za more Maja Markovčić Kostelac, koja je uz ministra Butkovića prisustvovala potpisivanju Sporazuma, a koja je istaknula da linijski promet predstavlja jedan od stupova razvoja otoka, ali i razvoja turizma.“Ovakav primjer, kao što je ministar rekao, imamo namjeru slijediti i u razvoju međuotočnog povezivanja, a isto tako i u jačanju pomorskog prijevoza kao dijela urbanog, gradskog prijevoza u gradovima, dakle, u povezivanju pojedinih dijelova gradova, odnosno, gradova i njihove bliže okolice, na otocima i dužobalno.”, Added State Secretary Markovčić Kostelac and announced an increase in funding for regular transport next year.Related news: OPEN OFFERS FOR SPEEDBOARDS AND BOAT LINESlast_img read more

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Soon the largest annual gathering of family tourism – 4.FOS

first_img4. Family Accommodation Forum (FOS) will be held on February 2, 3.2.2018. in the Congress Center of the Zagreb Fair organized by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce.It is the largest annual gathering of family tourism aimed at education, presentation of innovations in legislation and networking of participants with exhibitors of products and services relevant to family accommodation, organized by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the Family Tourism Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. “The fact that family accommodation makes up more than 50% of the total tourist market and that 350.000 people live on it speaks volumes about how important this market is for the demographic development of Croatia and why we need to deal with it systematically. Many here recognized the opportunity to stay in their country and work in their property”Said the president of the Family Tourism Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Danijela Cavlovic.Cavlovic points out that the role of the host includes much more than painting the walls, investing in bedding and cutlery and other regular maintenance. He warns that this is an activity that is fully involved in digital evolution, so those who are not familiar with new tools and trends can hardly survive among the increasingly resourceful and creative competition. Therefore, the Family Accommodation Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce started organizing a Family Accommodation Forum four years ago, in order to educate about the changes and needs of this market and connect providers of products and services for this activity. So far, more than 10.000 people have passed through the Community education system.One of the topics of this year’s edition will be the categorization of accommodation, but also the potential impact of the adoption of a new real estate tax on family accommodation providers. There will also be talk of the digital revolution, price management, the importance of branding and niche marketing. The representative of the European Association of Family Accommodation (EHHA) Carlos Villaro Lassen, who was joined by the Family Tourism Association at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in March last year, will show European practices and expectations in regulating the collaborative economy market.Photo: Booking.comThis largest annual gathering of accommodation providers was organized with the aim of educating on the most important issues in tax policy, legal changes, marketing trends and the digital revolution and the importance of raising the quality of the offer in this fastest growing tourist market. The Forum will also present the Tourist Flower – Quality for Croatia awards for the best facilities in family accommodation, as well as awards for the best European holiday homes. The forum is free for all participants. Favorable accommodation prices are provided for visitors outside Zagreb, and transportation is provided by regional tourist boards. More information about the Forum and the program is available on the official website fos.hgk.hr.Last year, 35 million overnight stays were realized in householdsAccording to the latest available data, over 90.000 households with over 540.000 beds are registered in Croatia, and directly 350.000 people are involved in the provision of household accommodation services. The value of the registered capacities is estimated at 15 billion euros, while the owners invest 120 million euros a year in their current maintenance, based on a minimum of 200 euros per bed. They invest another 130 million euros a year in additional facilities such as swimming pools, wellness equipment, cycling, children’s facilities, horticulture and marketing. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Tourism, in the past year, most overnight stays were realized in households, a total of 35 million.


Related news:DANIJELA ČAVLOVIĆ, HGK: WHILE WE ARE CONGRATULATED IN EUROPE, SOME PEOPLE IN CROATIA ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE GROWTH OF PRIVATE ACCOMMODATIONFAMILY MICRO ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN TOURISM – A ISSUE OF SURVIVALBE A HOST IN FAMILY ACCOMMODATION, NOT REAL ESTATE AGENTSlast_img read more

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Over a million cruise passengers visited Croatia

first_imgOut of a total of 710 cruises, most trips were realized in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County (59,4%) and the Split-Dalmatia County (25,6%), which is a total of 85,0%. The remaining 15,0% of trips were made in the following counties: Zadar (6,5%), Istria (3,8%), Primorje-Gorski Kotar (3,1%) and Šibenik-Knin (1,6%). In the period from January to November 2019, 75 foreign cruise ships entered Croatian seaports, out of 710 cruises, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). Source: CBS The most visited seaports were Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar The port of Dubrovnik (518 visits) had the most visits of foreign cruise ships, followed by the ports of Split (267 visits) and Zadar (117 visits).center_img There were 1,1 million passengers on these ships, the most so far, who stayed in Croatia for a total of 1.413 days. Photo: Pixabay.com Thus, in 2019, the number of trips of foreign ships for cruises was higher by 4,9%, and the total number of days of stay of ships was higher by 5,1% compared to the same period in 2018. The number of passengers on these ships in the mentioned in the period of 2019 was higher by 8,6% compared to 2018.last_img read more

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Nikolina Brnjac: Croatia is a safe destination for guests from Slovenia

first_imgAccording to preliminary indicators for August (as of August 18), we are currently at the level of approximately 238 thousand arrivals and 2,2 million overnight stays of Slovenes, of which 71,4 percent are realized in Istria, Kvarner and Lika. “We would like to point out that in these three counties a total of 10 cases of newly infected with COVID-19 were recorded in the past 24 hours. The perception of Croatia is extremely good for most Slovenian tourists, they feel safe in Croatia since they know it well and are the owners of many properties (more than 100.000)”Points out the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Nikolina Brnjac and adds that they are in constant contact with representatives of associations in the tourism system, in order to ensure full compliance with epidemiological measures in tourist facilities, as well as the possibility of introducing testing for foreign tourists in tourist facilities. Following the latest statements by the spokesman of the Government of the Republic of Slovenia for coronavirus, Jelko Kacin, we reject his allegations that the situation in Croatia is dramatic, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports announced. Photo: HRT Also, they point out that Slovenia is continuously at the very top of the market crucial for the overall result of Croatian tourism, which is illustrated by eVisitor indicators according to which in June 2020 we recorded approximately 207 thousand arrivals and 1,1 million overnight stays from the Slovenian market. we reached the level of approximately 382 thousand arrivals and 3,4 million overnight stays in July.  “Croatia will continue to do everything in its power to ensure that the relevant foreign institutions have all the accurate and precise information on the basis of which they make decisions on the inclusion of countries on risk lists, ie on the lists of safe countries.”Concludes Brnjac.last_img read more

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ASTA DESTINATION EXPO 2020 conference confirmed! 150 American travel agents and advisers arrive in Dubrovnik

first_imgThe conference will be held on a slightly smaller scale, in order to comply with all measures of the national headquarters and maintain the safety of visitors and hosts. About 150 American agents and advisers are expected, which is an extremely great success in the current crisis and restrictions on flights from the United States to Croatia.  At the meeting attended by the City of Dubrovnik, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board, ASTA, Amcro Travel, Hotel Valamar Lacroma, Elite Travel and HIT Dalmatia agreed that the ASTA conference is the most important step for tourism due to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. the same optimistic and strong message to the entire travel industry.  ASTA is the largest association of travel agents in the world with over 12 travel agents in the United States alone, and have a major impact on travel trends. ASTA “Destination Expo” is a conference held once a year outside the United States with the aim of promoting the host country, and this year it is Croatia. By the way, Croatia was declared at the annual ASTA Global Live convention “International destination of the year 2020.“. This is a prestigious award given by the Association of American Tourism Experts ASTA, which is invaluable for the promotion of Croatia.  Great news from Dubrovnik. The holding of the conference “ASTA DESTINATION EXPO 2020” has been confirmed, in the previously agreed date, from 3 to 6 December 2020, at the Valamar Lacroma Hotel. Croatian travel agencies, hotels and other tourism service providers have expressed great interest in exhibiting at Trade shows and B2B meetings as part of the ASTA conference, and US agents will stay in Croatia for an average of 7-10 days, traveling through other parts of our country. countries before and after the conference.  Find out more about the ASTA conference HERE The American market is the second most important emitting market for Dubrovnik after the British market, and last year 159 American tourists stayed in Dubrovnik (146% more than in 16), and 2018 overnight stays were realized (442% more than in 256).  The “ASTA DESTINATION EXPO 2020” conference is a unique opportunity to promote Dubrovnik and Croatia, and hosting about 150 American tourism experts in Dubrovnik, who will negotiate deals directly with Croatian tourism service providers at B2B meetings, will surely make this conference the most important tourist destination. event for Croatian tourism in 2020. last_img read more

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