BBC News reports that Chinese authorities knew of the S suis cases about a month ago but did not release that information until Jul 25. Local reporters have been banned from visiting areas where cases have occurred, with orders to newspapers to use dispatches from Xinhau, the state news agency, according to an MSNBC story. The Western Pacific office of the World Health Organization (WHO) put the number of cases as of today at 181 with 34 deaths, but New Scientist reported 198 cases with 36 deaths. The disease is concentrated in the Sichuan province in the southwest, but a case was reported Saturday in the southern province of Guangdong, says an Associated Press (AP) story. The lethality of the current cases and the symptom variations have called into question the S suis diagnosis. Robert Dietz of Asia-Pacific WHO is reported to have said that his organization is not convinced. Samson Wong, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, told Reuters, “It could be another disease altogether, it need not be Streptococcus suis because the presentation is so atypical.” Chinese authorities have not allowed any independent analysis of the cases to date. S suis has just been declared by the Chinese government as a notifiable infectious disease, according to the Chinese business newspaper The Standard. The decision was made because of the vast scale of the infection and the high associated mortality. Extensive control measures have been undertaken quickly in China, according to WHO, focusing on accurate identification of infected pigs, educational efforts informing people not to butcher or eat infected swine, and identification and treatment of human cases. Officials in Sichuan claim to have distributed more than 2 million posters to farmers and to have sent 50,000 heath workers and officials to 1.4 million hourseholds to register every pig in the region, according to a United Press International story. Chinese experts have completed genetic sequencing of S suis, a Jul 28 Xinhua story reported. Scientists at the Chinese Center for Disease Control are studying how closely the pig and human bacteria are genetically correlated to investigate how the disease spreads from animals to humans. Eleven cases have been reported in Hong Kong since May 2004, according to MSNBC. Two of them coincide with the Sichuan outbreak, but whether they are related has not been determined. The disease has been identified by the Chinese Ministry of Health as being caused by Streptococcus suis, a bacterium not uncommon in pigs. Human cases have been very rare, however, with mortality rates of less than 10%. Symptoms usually include high fever, vomiting, and hearing loss resulting from inflammation of the brain. Current cases are showing hemorrhaging under the skin, a very rare manifestation; only isolated hearing loss; and a mortality rate of 20%, according to various reports. Aug 1, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Reports on the mysterious pig-borne disease spreading among humans in China are numerous, with the number of cases closing in on 200 and fatalities standing at 34. Several sources today said the Yongshun pharmaceutical company in Guangdong shipped enough vaccine to Chengdu, capital of the Sichuan province, on Sunday to treat 350,000 pigs. The company claims they will be producing and shipping vaccine for another 10 million pigs shortly, according to a China Daily story today. To acquire immunity, pigs must be given two doses within a 15-day period; protection will last for more than 4 months. China is the largest pork producer in the world, with production concentrated in the Sichuan province. About 80% of China’s pork comes from small backyard farms, according to the Pacific News Service. Most of the current cases have occurred in farmers and butchers who have slaughtered or had contact with infected pigs.
Ireland found themselves thrust back into the path of one of world football’s superpowers when they were drawn into the same Euro 2016 qualifying group for the campaign which gets under way in September. Ireland will launch their preparations in earnest in Dublin on Wednesday evening when they tackle Serbia in a friendly following a victory over Latvia and a draw in Poland in November as new management duo Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane launched their reign. John O’Shea is determined to set the record straight as Ireland prepare to meet the force of Germany once again. “But there are lots of other teams in the group as well who will be confident of taking their chances too to qualify because of the extra team that can qualify also. “But we are fully aware. Look, we will see how Germany do in the World Cup in the summer beforehand as well, so we will know the quality we are going to be facing.” A convincing victory over an admittedly limited Latvian team and a hard-fought 0-0 draw in Poznan eased O’Neill and Keane into their new roles, but the hard work began in earnest this week as the pair started the process of honing their squad for the new campaign. Serbia will represent a significantly stiffer test, and that is exactly what the manager wants with the draw for Euro 2016 in Nice having served to focus minds on the task ahead. O’Neill said: “It’s very close now. That’s focused attention, [last] Sunday in Nice. “From my viewpoint – maybe not from the players’ at this point, they have still got big club matches to go – but from my viewpoint, it’s something I will be concentrating on now. “I know that there’s a World Cup still to be played, but for me, yes absolutely, September, it will honestly fly around now.” O’Neill has signalled his intention to play an attacking brand of football where possible, a contrast to Trapattoni’s famously conservative approach. However, he will not adopt a gung-ho approach as he attempts to mould his team and playing style. He said: “We want to try to score more goals, and the very natural thing is you want to try to create more chances to score more goals, so that’s something we would be looking to try to do if it’s at all possible. “We have only had a couple of sessions, these are easy words for me to use at this moment. “It’s nice, it’s comfortable and then Serbia keep ball for 10 minutes in the game and then you’re asking, ‘Where is this freedom of expression?’, so just be steady. “Serbia will be a real test for us for a start. Also, these matches in the Euros will be major tests for us, so while it’s nice to hear these type of words that we are talking about, we have to earn the right to express ourselves. I think that’s really important.” Press Association But memories of a 6-1 humiliation by the Germans at the Aviva Stadium in October 2102 and a 3-0 defeat in Cologne in the reverse fixture 12 months later remain painfully fresh for those men who were on the receiving end. Sitting alongside O’Neill, central defender O’Shea said: “Well look, you know how good they are. “You want to test yourself against the best players, but also you can’t be greedy all the time and say you want the easiest group or you want this and you want that. “You get who you get and you have to get on with it. Germany will be a massive test for us, but look, I know the man alongside of me and we are not going to be having a team-talk beforehand thinking, ‘We are going out and we are not going to win this game’. “That’s something that’s going to be very positive to look forward to.” The Dublin demolition job very nearly cost then manager Giovanni Trapattoni his job, and his tenure was effectively on a downward slope from that moment on. But professional pride dictates that the Irishmen who were so ruthlessly ripped apart that night are determined to atone for that capitulation this time around. O’Shea, 32, said: “Definitely. Particularly at home especially, that will definitely be the case.