The ECDC’s action in dropping the name without an explanation was sharply criticized by Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of CIDRAP News. The original report published Jun 29 stated that AGA SAAT GMBH of Dusseldorf, Germany, supplied seeds to a British firm (previously identified as Thompson & Morgan) that sold the seeds used to grow the sprouts linked to the E coli cases in Bordeaux, France. The company was named in a Jun 29 CIDRAP News story based on the report, which was published by the ECDC and the European Food Safety Authority. Also today, CIDRAP News received an e-mail message from a German attorney who said that he represented AGA SAAT GMBH and demanded that the firm’s name be removed from our Jun 29 news story based on the ECDC report. The message threatened legal action if the name is not removed. “We hope that this helps to clarify why the name of the company is not included anymore.” An examination by CIDRAP staff members of online documents indicated that the original ECDC report was replaced by a revised version about 9 hours after it was published on Jun 29. Most of the currently available media stories about the report do not mention the firm’s name, but at least one Reuters report, in the French newspaper Le Figaro, still mentioned it today. But the name of the German firm was removed from the online ECDC report a few hours after it was first published, CIDRAP News has learned. The current version of the report omits the name without giving any explanation for the change. “Nevertheless, alreadyby itselfthe nomination of the name of our client in connection with possibly EHEC contaminated seed is suitable for damaging her reputation. Therefore, we request you to delete immediately the name of our client from your above article. Jul 1, 2011 (CIDRAP News) The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has deleted the name of a German seed importer from a risk assessment report on the recent cluster of Escherichia coli cases in France, out of concern about potential unnecessary harm to the company, CIDRAP News learned today. The message from Dr. Philipp Giesen of the firm Rellermeyer Partner in Dusseldorf states, “In your article on your website [link included] our client is wrongly brought in connection with the supply of possibly EHEC contaminated seed. So far, in the context of intensive inspections neither in the case of supplies to our client nor in the case of supplies of our client EHEC exciters were determined. “We look forward to the confirmation of the deletion until the 2nd of July 2011. The report said fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt in 2009 and/or 2010 were implicated in the French illness cluster. The E coli strain in the French illnesses matches the strain in the massive E coli outbreak centered in Germany. The ECDC and EFSA called for urgent investigations into the distribution of the implicated lots of seeds, because of a risk of more cases. In response to a query today about the reason for removing the company’s name, ECDC spokeswoman Caroline Daamen told CIDRAP News by e-mail, “In the initial risk assessment posted on the website, EFSA and ECDC reported information that had been made available to support the ongoing outbreak investigation. However, some key partners involved felt that it may unnecessarily harm the company to publish its name while the investigations are still ongoing. So it was thought more appropriate to remove the name of the company from the final report. See also: Original Jun 29 ECDC report Revised ECDC report “We also reserve our right to take further legal measures against you.” “I really think they compromised public health practice by removing the name of the company and not saying why, particularly since more fenugreek seeds may still be out in the public domain,” he said. “If it [the naming of AGA SAAT GMBH] is not correct, they should go back and correct that,” he added. “But if they’re letting the company dictate to them, they’re really not doing their job. It really is public health malpractice not to name these companies when they’re involved, particularly when there’s a potential risk to the public as a result of their product still being on the market.” Jun 29 CIDRAP News story on ECDC report
Researchers in the United Kingdom report that a frontline drug combination for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria failed in four patients, a finding they say raises concerns about reduced susceptibility to recommended therapy for the disease.Meanwhile, a separate study suggests that a gene that enables malaria-carrying mosquitoes to resist insecticides has spread throughout southern Africa.The case studies, reported this week in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, describe the treatment of four patients (two male, two female) diagnosed as having malaria caused by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite after returning from trips to Angola, Liberia, and Uganda in late 2015 and early 2016. Most malaria cases in the UK involve people who’ve traveled to Africa, where the disease is endemic.The patients were all treated with artemether-lufemantrine, an artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends as the first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria. All the patients recovered within a few days, and were discharged once their blood showed no remaining signs of the parasite.Treatment failureBut from 2 and 6 weeks after the initial episode, each patient returned with recurrent symptoms of the disease and increased levels of the parasite in their blood. None of the four patients had traveled back to Africa after the first treatment, which indicated that these were not new infections, since P falciparum is not found in the United Kingdom. Doctors subsequently treated the patients with alternative drugs, and all four recovered.Genetic analysis of malaria isolates from each patient showed that they all harbored mutations that have been associated with reduced susceptibility to artemisinin or lufemantrine. Still, the authors note, the failure of the initial treatment “cannot be unequivocally ascribed to parasite resistance” in the four patients. They say the findings could have been substantiated by monitoring the patients for full compliance with the initial treatment and measuring lufemantrine levels in the blood a week after treatment to look for signs of malabsorption.While the four cases represent the first failure of frontline malaria treatment in the United Kingdom, the authors of the study say the real concern is what the findings could potentially mean for malaria treatment in Africa, where the parasite is a constant threat and artemeter-lufemantrine is the most widely used ACT.Lead study author Colin Sutherland, PhD, MPH, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said UK doctors can play a role in monitoring for signs of growing resistance.”A concerted effort to monitor AL [artemether-lufemantribe] outcomes in UK malaria patients needs to be made,” Sutherland said in a press release from University College London Hospitals. “This will determine whether our frontline drug is under threat.”As of July 2016, resistance to artemisinin and its partner drugs has been confirmed in the five countries that make up the Greater Mekong subregion: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.Insecticide resistance in AfricaWhile resistance to artemisinin-based combination therapies has not to date spread to Africa, a study today in PLoS Genetics indicates that one of the major elements of malaria control efforts in Africa is helping fuel the spread of insecticide-resistance in the mosquitoes that carry P falciparum.According to the study, a vast majority of malaria reduction since 2000 can be attributed to mosquito control with pyrethroid insecticide-based interventions, including the use of insecticide-treated bed netting and indoor spraying. Yet in recent years, growing resistance to insecticide-treated nets has been observed in Africa. That resistance is believed to be caused by a metabolic mutation that enables mosquitoes to detoxify the insecticide before it reaches its target.To get a better understanding of why this resistance is spreading, and how far it has spread in mosquito populations in Africa, researchers used a combination of sequencing techniques and genetic analyses to examine the continent-wide population structure of the Anopheles funestus mosquito, one of the major malaria vectors in Africa. What they found was that the gene that controls metabolic resistance has now swept through mosquito populations in southern Africa and become almost universal, driven primarily by the selection pressure from the growing use of pyrethroid-treated mosquito netting.”This highlights the risk of relying on a single insecticide class for vector control and emphasizes the need for novel insecticides and vector control tools to tackle the spread of resistant vector populations,” the authors write.The WHO estimates there were 212 million cases of malaria globally in 2015, and 429,000 deaths. Africa accounted for 90% of the cases and 92% of the deaths.See also:Jan 30 Antimicrob Agents Chemother studyJan 31 University College London Hospitals press releaseFeb 2 PLoS Genet study
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The multi-million dollar complex has been designed by MHI, which is supplying the most important items of equipment to PKN Orlen, Poland’s largest oil refining and petrochemical company. PKN Orlen is responsible for developing the facility, which is set to be operational by the end of this year. The plant is being constructed at Wloclawek, 160km from Warsaw and is set to produce around 600,000 tonnes of PTA when operational.Acting as the general contractor for all cargo forwarding, port handling, Customs clearance and inland delivery to the construction site, Advance International is co-ordinating movements by road, rail and barge. The total weight of material and imported machinery will exceed 370,000 tonnes, including more than 250 individual shipments of over dimensional and heavyweight items. Advance has overseen the shipment and discharge at the Port of Gdansk of many over-dimensional cargoes destined for the new facility. These have included a slurry heater, dryer gas scrubber and dryer shell. At 176 tonnes, the dryer shell was the heaviest item carried. All items are being transported to the site of the new facility by barge or pontoon. PTA is used in the manufacture of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles used for water and soft drinks. The main machinery and equipment for the project originates in Japan while ancillary equipment is being brought from Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, Italy, South Korea, UK, USA and other countries. Commenting on the project, Jawad Kamel, Advance International’s President and CEO, said: “This latest contract builds on Advance’s long-established and successful relationship with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and we are delighted to be involved in such an important and complex transportation management project. Our contribution will allow managers to bring the plant on stream by the end of this year. “The fact that the plastic produced by this plant is recyclable is even better news for the environment in Poland and the world in general. I am pleased that the demand for PET bottles is so strong that PKN Orlen has committed a significant investment to such a plant. “We are bringing the majority of the freight consignments through Gdansk, using inland waterways for delivery of some consignments to the plant site. Some material is being brought from Western Europe overland or by sea, while other items is arriving by air at Warsaw airport. This project, like others we have undertaken for MHI, clearly demonstrates how the modern construction industry is a truly global affair and that project forwarders such as Advance must be willing and able to work on a global basis. “This project started late last year and shipments of the main heavy items of equipment will be completed by the end of the 3rd quarter of this year.”
Jacqueline Olwage, ParklandsI wrote this with my grandson’s hand-me-down phone. Often nowadays, what we hear is, “do it online”, and, as a pensioner, I can’t afford a computer or a fancy phone to do this. My friend was hacked, and her and her husband’s accounts were cleaned out. They hardly got anything back. This online process is supposed to save paper, but now electricity is used – six of one and half a dozen of the other? So when the power is off, we hear “sorry, we’re offline, come again later”. This after having to take two buses (if they are running) and about two hours to get there. Of course, there is no printed backup to refer to like we had in the old days. Businesses should remember that not all people have or can afford this modern technology.
City firm Norton Rose Fulbright is to introduce a new graduate scheme that will run in parallel with its traditional training contract.The two-year programme will be built around four six-month rotations in business solutions; commercial management; innovation; legal project management; and pricing and resource management.A Legal Practice Course qualification is not required to join the programme, which is open to people with a law and non-law background. As with traditional solicitor training contracts, intakes will start in March and September next year.Graduates who complete the scheme will be offered permanent roles, although the programme does not lead to qualification as a solicitor but instead to qualifications in other areas.Martin McCann, partner and global head of business, said: ‘The delivery of legal services is transforming and the leading law firms know that their future success is linked to how they adjust the traditional model.’The new graduate scheme sits within NRF Transform, the firm’s innovation programme. The firm said six spots are available in total (two in March and four in September). From 2020, placements will begin every September.Norton Rose’s decision follows that of magic circle firm Allen & Overy, which earlier this year said it had set-up a graduate training scheme focusing on legal technology and project management.
Miguel Valero has been appointed President of Canarail, succeeding Jim D Spielman who will remain as a Special Advisor to the President.
Australia: Transport for New South Wales has appointed Turner & Townsend to provide cost planning services for the Sydney light rail strategic plan. Arup, Hassell and Aurecon are engineering and design advisors. Zonegreen is to supply its Smart depot personnel protection system for the City Rail EMU maintenance centre at Auburn in Sydney. Installation will be undertaken by Andrew Engineering. Denmark: Banedanmark has awarded Alstom a €25m two-year contract to design and test its Atlas ETCS Level 2 onboard equipment with a view to potential roll-out across 789 trains and 41 operators. Serbia: AT Kearney has been awarded a €0·5m EU-backed contract to assist Serbian Railways with implementing organisational reform in line with European directives. UK: The Cloud is to provide wi-fi at 13 First Great Western stations, and upgrade facilities at 10 more. USA: Railcomm is to provide Amtrak’s Hialeah depot in Miami with a wireless remote control derail system which will log all operations and user identities.
NEW ZEALAND: Auckland Transport and CAF signed a NZ$$133m contract on November 7 covering the supply of a further 15 three-car electric multiple-units from 2019 and the provision of eight years of maintenance.The order is being funded by NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Council. There is provision in the contract for further units to be ordered, as well as an option for the EMUs to be fitted with battery packages which would enable them to replace diesel multiple-units on the Papakura – Pukekohe route which is not currently electrified. In 2011 CAF was awarded an initial contract to supply 57 EMUs and maintain them for 12 years. They entered service from 2014, and have since covered more than 11 million km. The latest batch of stainless steel EMUs will be similar to those previously supplied, with two driving motor cars and one low-floor intermediate trailer giving a capacity of 380 passengers per unit. Auckland Transport said the additional vehicles have been ordered to accommodate growing ridership, with its network having carried 20 million passengers in the past year, an increase of 16% on the previous period. ‘With 15 more trains we will be able to operate six-car trains on most services on the Southern, Eastern and Western lines’, explained Auckland Transport CEO David Warburton. ‘This will give passengers the confidence that they will have a comfortable trip and they won’t have to worry about not getting a seat.’ Warburton said Auckland Transport was also planning to increase weekend frequencies to every 20 min on the Southern, Eastern and Western lines, with trains running every 30 min between Papakura and Pukekohe.