NEWS SCAN: Avian flu cleanup efforts, West Nile in Texas, farm antibiotic use

Jul 30, 2012

Indonesia targets live markets in disease-fighting effort
In a move to curb avian flu and other diseases, Indonesia's health ministry is improving sanitation in live-bird markets, the Jakarta Post reported today. Under a cooperative venture between the country's health ministry and trade ministry, the government has opened eight new live-bird markets with improved plumbing, sewer, and waste-treatment facilities at a cost of $105,000. Health official Wilfried H. Purba said, "Traditional markets play roles in the spreading of hygiene-related health problems, including bird flu." In 2011, 10 traditional live-bird markets were selected for the European Union–funded "healthy market" program. The health ministry plans to increase the budget for the program by 50% for 2013. The archipelago nation houses thousands of live-bird markets, a large percentage of which are old, with unsanitary conditions, the story said.
Jul 30 Jakarta Post story

Texas confirms 111 West Nile cases
Texas has confirmed 111 West Nile virus (WNV) infections so far this year, compared with only 3 at this time last year and 49 as a 10-year average, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported late last week. Of the 111 cases, 71 (64%) are neuroinvasive, the agency said. In 2006 the state confirmed 171 cases by this time of year, a 10-year high. Of the state's 2012 total, 82 cases are in Dallas County, according to the Dallas County Health and Human Services's (DCHHS's) latest West Nile Watch report. The DCHHS also reported the county's third WNV death on Jul 27. It didn't provide specifics on any of the fatal cases. In a news release the Texas DSHS urged people to take precautions to reduce the risk of infection from the mosquito-borne disease, including using insect repellent and avoiding going outside at dusk and dawn.
Jul 27 Texas DSHS news release
Jul 27 DCHHS West Nile Watch
Jul 27 DCHHS press release

FDA seeks advice on how to get more data on animal antibiotic use
As part of its efforts to fight antimicrobial drug resistance, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking comments on how it can collect more, and more specific, data on sales of antimicrobial drugs used in animals. The request for comments is partially in response to new data collection requirements in the Animal Drug User Fee Amendments of 2008, the agency announced last week. Specifically, for drugs approved for use in more than one kind of animal, including food and nonfood animals, the FDA is seeking comments on how drug sponsors can provide sales and distribution information for each species. The agency also invited comments on how, using its existing authority, it can gather more information about the extent of antimicrobial use in food animals, to support the analysis of factors in the development and spread of resistance to the drugs. In addition, the FDA is seeking advice on the best ways to present annual summaries of its findings while protecting confidential business information as required by law. The agency said it believes that having more information about the use of medically important antimicrobial drugs in farm animals will support the FDA's strategy for promoting "judicious use" of the drugs. The strategy, announced in April, calls for drug manufacturers to voluntarily change the marketing status of certain animal drugs to permit their use only under veterinary oversight.
Jul 26 FDA statement
Jul 27 FDA Federal Register notice

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