China confirms two human cases of avian flu

first_imgNov 16, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – China today reported two confirmed human cases of H5N1 avian influenza, marking the first time the government has confirmed cases on the mainland.The disease was confirmed in a 9-year-old boy from Hunan province, who has recovered, and in a 24-year-old woman from Anhui province, who died Nov 10, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua.In addition, avian flu is suspected in the Oct 17 death of the boy’s 12-year-old sister, but the case can’t be confirmed because of a lack of good samples for testing, according to Xinhua and Agence France-Presse (AFP).China joins Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia on the list of countries with confirmed human cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) currently lists 126 cases with 64 deaths since December 2003 (the Chinese cases were not yet included at this writing). Vietnam accounts for 92 cases and 42 deaths.The confirmation of China’s first human cases follows a series of 11 poultry outbreaks in several provinces over the past month. Yesterday the government announced its intention to vaccinate all poultry, estimated at 5.2 billion birds, against avian flu. China reported its first poultry outbreaks of H5N1 flu in February 2004.The 9-year-old boy, surnamed He, from Xiangtan County, fell ill with fever and pneumonia-like symptoms on Oct 10, Xinhua reported. A poultry outbreak had occurred in his village.The boy had high levels of H5 antibodies, and experts from China’s health ministry and the WHO concluded that he had the H5N1 virus, according to Xinhua. He was released from a hospital Nov 12.The woman from Anhui in eastern China fell ill Nov 1 and died of “prostration of breathing” Nov 10, the report said. She was a farmer who had chickens and ducks that died 1 to 2 weeks before she got sick.The 9-year-old boy’s 12-year-old sister had symptoms like her brother’s, Xinhua said. “The experts from the [health] ministry suspected the girl of being a human case of H5N1 bird flu, but cannot confirm it by WHO standards due to insufficient evidence from laboratory tests,” the story stated.According to AFP, WHO spokesman Dick Thompson said his agency recognizes the boy’s and young woman’s cases as confirmed. But the samples available from the 12-year-old girl “weren’t of a quality that could be used to determine whether or not she did indeed have bird flu,” he said.The cases announced today are the first to be officially confirmed in mainland China. The first known human cases of H5N1 infection occurred in Hong Kong in 1997, when 18 people fell ill and six died. In February 2003, two Hong Kong residents, a 33-year-old man and his 9-year-old son, became infected with the virus while visiting Fujian province in China. They were diagnosed after returning to Hong Kong. The father died but his son recovered.See also:Mar 13, 2003, CIDRAP News story “WHO issues alert over atypical pneumonia outbreaks in Asia” for information on the February 2003 cases in Hong Konglast_img read more

Clayton Kershaw comparisons to Sandy Koufax growing more frequent, accurate

first_imgThe name of Sandy Koufax is not spoken at Dodger Stadium but whispered. It follows an appropriate pause, like the scene in “Blazing Saddles” when the choir sings and then says, “Randolph Scott.”But it is time to let the heresy begin.Twenty-two is the new 32. Clayton Kershaw has been so good, is so good and will be so good Koufax no longer is incomparable.That is not to say Kershaw will duplicate Koufax’s ruthless six-year run from 1961 through 1966. Koufax was 129-47 in those years. In 1965-66 he had 54 complete games in 84 starts. He led the National League in ERA in his last five seasons and led in WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) four times.He did it furiously, a pitcher with the force of a slugger. Fans were lured by the legitimate promise of a no-hitter every time he appeared.“The crowd was into the rhythm of the game,” said Wally Moon, who played outfield behind him. “They were chanting along with him, especially in the 18-strikeout game against San Francisco, which is still the best-pitched game I ever saw.”Moon won that one in the ninth, in 1959, with a 3-run homer. Shortstop Maury Wills puckishly takes credit for that “because I didn’t get a bunt down and put two guys in scoring position, so they let Sandy hit, and then he went out and kept striking people out.”And, of course, Koufax was pitching every fourth day, which allowed him to win 25 or more games three times. His strikeout rates were more impressive, too, because strikeouts were a hitter’s humiliation in the 60’s. In 1966, there were 14 National Leaguers who struck out 100 or more times. In 2013, there were 47. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img But Kershaw is riding shotgun to Koufax. He goes into the All-Star break with an 11-2 record in just 14 starts and a 1.78 ERA. He has been the NL’s ERA and WHIP leader each of the past three years. He has lost 35 decisions in this decade.And he only turned 26 in March. It took four seasons for Koufax to become a semi-regular starter. Kershaw started a playoff game in his second year and made an All-Star team in his third. His ERA since his rookie season is 2.40.On Thursday Kershaw took a 36-inning scoreless streak against San Diego, a matchup reminiscent of Muhammad Ali against Jean-Pierre Coopman. He pitched a complete-game 3-hitter and won, 2-1, but he did give up a sixth-inning home run to Chase Headley, stopping the streak at 41.Kershaw got a standing ovation when he left the mound that inning, which he later described as “pretty cool,” but he never looked up as he walked to the dugout. The homer was bothersome because it tied the game 1-1, and so were the questions afterward. Kershaw finally announced he would discuss the wayward slider no more.It was the same intolerance of imperfection that made Kershaw so unhappy when he struck out in the fifth. The goal is not to be the next Koufax but to be the first and final Kershaw. Even with his bountiful future, he’s acutely conscious of how numbered his days are.For that and more humble reasons, Kershaw always dismissed the Koufax comparisons. It is becoming tougher for everyone else to.“Sandy was in a class by himself,” Wills said. “I wouldn’t put that kind of pressure on Clayton. But I will say that Clayton is a better hitter and runner than Sandy was. I used to root for Sandy to strike out so he could get in the dugout where it was safe.“In fact, I remember that day in Milwaukee when he got caught too far off second base and had to dive back in. That’s where a lot of his arm trouble started. I do think Clayton has a chance to get to that level. He’s a hard-working young man and he’s extremely focused. Every time I’m around him, I look at him and it’s like he’s in the middle of a game.”Part of Koufax’s sanctity comes from the unfulfilled promise and his mysterious seclusion. He was 30 years old when he threw his final pitch. What unseen wonders were in store? What did we miss?Kershaw is not immune to the perils of the most destructive position in sports. But he has not missed a start with an elbow and shoulder problem, and he knows how to minimize risk.“What the outsider might not see is how much he works on the days in between,” Dodgers veteran Dan Haren said. “He’s the first guy on the field, working on flat-ground stuff. We all work hard but he takes it to another level to build that foundation. It embarrasses me a little bit, and I feel like I do a lot.”Catcher A.J. Ellis remembers Kershaw scurrying to a road park after the team plane lands, just to preserve the routine. But Kershaw also works smart. He is big but not bulky, and everything is geared to making all the physical levers run smoothly.“He repeats his delivery on every pitch,” said Skip Johnson, the University of Texas pitching coach with whom Kershaw has worked since his high school days in Dallas. “Some guys start trying too much and start using muscles they haven’t used, and they start hearing those muscles barking.”After Kershaw won his second Cy Young Award last year, he went to Austin and worked with Johnson.“The goal was to see if he could get on top of his slider more,” Johnson said. Because Kershaw did, he has improved his strikeout rate to 11.1 per nine innings, up from 8.8 in 2013.Mechanically, Kershaw pitches with a “flat back,” according to pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. That means Kershaw is extending his follow-through to the point so completely his back is parallel to the ground at the end.“That means the decelerators in his delivery are extending through his hamstrings and his whole body,” Honeycutt said. “It’s like if you’re casting a line in fishing, and it’s a nice, smooth cast instead of being herky-jerky. You saw that type of delivery a lot with older pitchers, but not so much now. The younger guys are so strong that they can throw hard with bad mechanics.“But over time, that way of decelerating can catch up with you.”Now even the questions are decelerating as Kershaw’s games become more self-explanatory. Inevitably, with no contemporaries in the way, it all leads to Koufax.last_img read more