Egyptian H5N1 cases prompt speculation about silent infections

first_imgApr 8, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The recent series of H5N1 avian influenza cases in Egyptian children yet very few in adults has raised concern that some Egyptians may be getting infected without getting sick, according to a Reuters news report published today.John Jabbour, a World Health Organization (WHO) emerging diseases specialist based in Cairo, said the Egyptian government and the WHO are planning a study to find out if subclinical or asymptomatic cases have been occurring, according to the story.Jabbour said the occurrence of asymptomatic cases would be worrisome because it could give the undetected virus more time to mutate in human hosts, Reuters reported.”If there is any subclinical case in Egypt, the aim is to treat immediately to stop the reproduction of the virus,” he told Reuters. “Because whether [through] mutation or reassortment, this will lead to the pandemic strain.”The story said that all but two of the 11 Egyptians infected with H5N1 this year have been children under age 3 (the official WHO count for Egypt reached 12 today). In the same period last year, most of the seven Egyptian case-patients were adults and older children, the report said.Jabbour said the string of cases in children without similar cases in adults had prompted the questions whether adults were being infected without falling ill.He said the Egyptian study would involve testing the blood of people who were potentially exposed to infected birds but had not gotten sick.Tim Uyeki, MD, a medical epidemiologist in the Influenza Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CIDRAP News that limited studies in several countries over the past few years have found relatively little serologic evidence of asymptomatic or unrecognized cases of H5N1 virus infection.When the H5N1 virus first infected humans in Hong Kong in 1997, there were two studies in which investigators looked for H5N1 antibodies in people who had potentially been exposed to the virus, Uyeki said. One study focused on 293 poultry cullers, of whom only nine (3%) were found to have H5N1 antibodies, indicating past infection. In the other study, involving 1,525 poultry workers, an estimated 10% had antibodies.More recent studies “have either found no evidence of H5N1 virus infection or very low seroprevalence of H5N1 antibodies, around 1% or less, among different exposed populations,” Uyeki said. “Since H5N1 virus strains continue to evolve, there’s a continued need for these studies in people who have contact with poultry in countries where H5N1 virus strains are circulating in birds, since the risk of transmission to exposed persons could change.”Uyeki also noted that subclinical infection with seasonal influenza virus is known to occur. “But how that relates to H5N1 is unclear,” he said.See also: Jan 25 2008 CIDRAP News story “Cambodian study hints at subclinical H5N1 cases”last_img read more

Georgia’s auto-enrolment pension law faces constitutional challenge

first_imgThe campaign group also called for the court to rule whether the contributions qualified as a new tax. Under Georgia’s constitution new taxes must be first approved by a referendum.Neighbouring Armenia’s pensions overhaul faced a similar challenge in 2014.Boosting retirement and capital markets Georgia’s second-pillar auto-enrolment pension system, which came into effect at the start of the year, has been challenged in the country’s constitutional court.Human rights organisation Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI) launched the case on the grounds that it breaches Article 11 (Right to Equality) and Article 19 (Right to Property) of the Georgian Constitution, according to a report from OC Media.Under the funded pensions law, which parliament passed in July 2018, employers and employees each pay a contribution of 2% of pre-tax wages. The state adds a further 2% for those earning less than GEL24,000 (€7,941) a year, and 1% for those on GEL24,000-60,000.GDI argued that the system’s mandatory nature interfered with citizens’ property rights. It has also challenged the 2% employer levy, which, unlike the employee portion, would not be returned in any way to the contributor. Credit: Peter Anta The Bridge of Peace in Tbilisi, GeorgiaGeorgia’s new defined contribution (DC) system was designed by the ruling Georgian Dream government to supplement the existing universal pension, a flat-rate GEL200 a month, financed out of the state budget irrespective of contribution levels and employment history.At times the universal pension has fallen below the minimum subsistence level, and provides a low replacement rate even for those on average wages.The auto-enrolment system is mandatory for all employees up to age 40 as of August 2018, and voluntary for those older than 60 (men) and 55 (women). Those in between can opt out within five months of enrolment, but no earlier than three months.Participation is also voluntary for the self-employed – more than half of Georgia’s workforce – who pay in 4% of their earnings.Further readingPoland: A policy gear change Auto-enrolment is to be rolled out in Poland, and the existing second-pillar system will be phased outCapital markets: Power to the centre The CFA Institute surveyed its members in central and eastern Europe to gain a deeper understanding of market participants’ views on local regulationSecond pillar pensions in central and eastern Europe IPE’s analysis of assets, membership and asset allocation from nine CEE countriesGeorgia’s new system also aims to boost local capital markets.The auto-enrolment law established a separate legal entity, the Pensions Agency, whose functions include administering the system and providing investment services. Participants can use either the agency or an approved financial company to manage all or part of their pension assets.The new law provides for three types of investment portfolio – high, average and low risk – with participants free chose their own portfolios or default to one of the three depending on their age.Investment limits in both equities and foreign-currency denominated assets range from 20% for low-risk portfolios to 60% for high-risk ones. Prohibited investments include derivatives (except for hedging purposes) and real estate.External bodies such as the International Monetary Fund have long supported the new system, including the establishment of the Pensions Agency, as a means of stimulating domestic savings and the local currency capital markets.Dollarisation in the economy, while on the decline, is still high, accounting for significant shares of loans and deposits.As credit rating agency Moody’s stated last July: “The accumulation of pension assets will complement Georgian authorities’ efforts to tackle the issue of high dollarisation in the economy and support a plan to develop domestic capital markets by introducing a demand element for long-term lari [local currency] assets.”last_img read more

DONEGAL’S ‘WILD ATLANTIC WAY’ DIGITAL CONFERENCE BOOKED OUT IN RECORD TIME!

first_imgDonegal County Council’s ‘Connecting the Wild Atlantic Way’ Digital Marketing Conference has been fully booked out in record time.The innovative conference will be held on 25th September in Solis Lough Eske Castle. Demand for places at this much anticipated conference has been extremely high and there is an extensive waiting list of those who wish to attend in the event of a cancellation.Organisers of the conference, Donegal County Council in association with Failte Ireland and Donegal Tourism Ltd are delighted by the response, but are not surprised by the positive appetite for the conference amongst the trade in Donegal. An Cathaoirleach, John Campbell expressed his delight at feedback he has received in relation to the conference.“Tourism is a hugely important part in generating economic growth and development in the county, the Wild Atlantic Way is the perfect marketing tool to promote our fantastic county, combine this with the latest Digital Marketing technology and businesses in Donegal have a winning formula for tourism success. Enthusiasm and interest in this conference has been phenomenal,” he said.An expert panel of speakers will present at the conference including representatives from Google, Facebook and two of Ireland’s leading digital agencies, Wolfgang Digital and Ambition Digital.The conference will also feature practical case studies from Donegal businesses in the tourism sector that feature the Wild Atlantic Way in their marketing campaigns with great success. Exhibitors will be on hand with useful information on everything from funding to marketing plans, tools and techniques to Wild Atlantic Way literature and market research data from Tourism Ireland and Failte Ireland. Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, Seamus Neely said the fact that the conference was booked out so quickly is testament to the enthusiasm and vibrancy of the tourism sector in Donegal.“Businesses are keen to embrace the Wild Atlantic Way and use the latest Digital Marketing technologies to reach target audiences online. This conference will be a very useful and informative event for those who want to make the most of opportunities presented by the Wild Atlantic Way.”For those who have been fortunate to secure a place by registering early, this conference is sure to inspire and inform you to take a new marketing direction combining digital marketing techniques blended seamlessly with Wild Atlantic Way to produce real and lasting results for your tourism business. DONEGAL’S ‘WILD ATLANTIC WAY’ DIGITAL CONFERENCE BOOKED OUT IN RECORD TIME! was last modified: September 22nd, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Digital conferenceWild Atlantic Waylast_img read more