Jan 3, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Animal health officials in Israel today notified the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) of an H5 avian influenza outbreak at a site near Haifa, and media outlets are reporting that final tests have confirmed the virus is the lethal H5N1subtype.Eighteen of 20 chickens at a petting zoo adjacent to a kindergarten in the city of Binyamina in northern Israel were found dead this morning, reported Xinhua, China’s state news agency.Shmuel Rishpon, a Haifa district physician, said the kindergarten staff has been given preventive medicine and authorities believe none of the children or parents had contact with the birds.According to the OIE report, only chickens at the zoo were struck by the virus. Eight ducks and four pigeons were also housed with the chickens in a small enclosure.Polymerase chain reaction testing at Israel’s national laboratory at Kimron Veterinary Institute on samples from the infected birds were positive for the H5 serotype, but neuraminidase inhibition assay tests were pending, the OIE report said.However, the agriculture ministry said today the birds had the lethal H5N1 strain, according to the Jerusalem Post. Israel’s agriculture ministry received final test results from its department of veterinary services, indicating the birds had the H5N1 subtype, Globes Online, an Israeli business media outlet, reported today.The remaining birds were destroyed, and health officials placed a 3-kilometer protection zone and a 10-kilometer surveillance zone around the outbreak area, said the OIE report.Israel’s last H5N1 outbreak, which hit domestic poultry, occurred in March 2006, according to reports from the UN Food and Animal Organization (FAO). No human H5N1 cases or deaths have been reported in Israel.Elsewhere, animal health officials in Vietnam said the H5N1 virus killed 350 white-winged ducks in northern Vietnam’s Thai Nguyen province, according to a Reuters report today. The outbreak occurred at a farm in 2-month-old ducks. Animal health workers culled the remaining birds, the report said.The H5N1 virus also struck ducks and chickens in Tra Vinh province in southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, Reuters reported.Officials in Bangladesh yesterday said the H5N1 virus was detected on a poultry farm in Dinajpur in the northern part of the country, prompting the culling of 300 chickens, according to another Reuters report.In other developments, the state media in Myanmar on Dec 29 reported an outbreak of the H5N1 virus in chickens in a village near the Myanmar border with Thailand, the Associated Press (AP) reported.The New Light of Myanmar, the state-run newspaper, said the outbreak occurred in a village in Shan state among domestic chickens and was reported to livestock officials on Dec 23, according to the AP report.See also:OIE reports on Israeli avian flu outbreakFAO update on H5N1 in birds
It seems like every year the rankings in both football andmen?s basketball are always questioned ?though probably more in football sincefinal rankings have BCS implication.This year hasn?t been different.During the football season we debated for almost two monthson whether or not LSU and Ohio State were the top two teams in the country.Most people also thought that when the Wisconsin football team peaked at No. 5in the rankings, that it wasn?t the fifth-best team in the country, which theyproved by losing the next two games to Illinois and Penn State.The basketball team?s ranking has been debated all seasonlong too.After picking up two wins last week at Indiana and homeagainst Minnesota, the Badgers find themselves back in the top ten of thecoaches? poll and projected as a four seed in the latest edition of JoeLunardi?s ?Bracketology.?Despite the fact that the Badgers have exceeded most fansexpectations ? including mine ? almost anyone I have talked to about the teamthis year seems to agree on one thing: They are not sure Wisconsin is a top 10team.While I said in an earlier column that this is Bo Ryan?sbest coaching job ? and I still believe that ? I?m also not sure if UW isreally the 10th-best team in the country.Their win against Indiana was a huge statement for this team,considering that playing in Bloomington has given UW fits over the years. Thisyear?s team was also facing a much tougher IU team than the one they faced lastyear when the Badgers were ranked No. 2 in the country and lost.The win also gave Wisconsin something no other team in thecountry can claim: two road wins against top 15 teams.So UW?s win against the Hoosiers has put the Badgers back inthe top 10, but Wisconsin?s next three games will really prove if it is worthyof its ranking.While at Illinois this year might not seem like a dauntingtask considering the Illini?s 3-10 conference record, playing in Champaign hasnever been easy for the Badgers. Wisconsin is 18-66 all-time at Illinois, andits win last year was UW?s first in Assembly Hall since 1997. Add to the factthat Bruce Weber?s club played the Badgers tough in Madison in January, andthis game will not be a cakewalk for Wisconsin.Playing at Ohio State is another tough venue for UW, whereit is 20-51 all time. Yes, the Buckeyes are not as good as they were last yearwhen the Badgers lost by a point in the first ever No. 1 vs. No. 1 matchup(Wisconsin was No. 1 in the AP, and Ohio State was No. 1 in the coaches).However, the Buckeyes are trying to make their case for the NCAA tournament,and winning over a top ten team like Wisconsin would be a good signature win totake to the selection committee.Then there is Michigan State.This will most likely be the toughest game out of the three.Even though Ryan has been almost unbeatable at the Kohl Center in Big Ten playsince coming to Wisconsin, the loss to Purdue showed that a game in Madison isnot a for sure win. The one thing UW has going for them is it has not lost toMSU at home since Ryan has been the head coach.Should Wisconsin be 24-4 and 14-2 in the Big Ten on Feb. 29,?UW will have proven ? at least tome ? that they are really one of the best teams in the country. However, shouldthey falter once, it will show that, while the Badgers are a good team thisyear, they are not ready to be talked about as one of the upper echelon teams.So the question to ask until then is: Are the Badgersdeserving of their top 10 ranking? Maybe.But only time will tell.?Greg is a senior majoring is communication arts. Let himknow where you think the Badgers should be ranked at firstname.lastname@example.org.?