Dec 11, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – International health officials who met with Chinese health experts last week said the dispute over the “Fujian-like” strain of H5N1 avian influenza reflects confusion over names and vowed to seek an agreement on terminology for the various H5N1 subgroups.The meeting in Beijing came a few weeks after US and Hong Kong scientists reported in a medical journal that the Fujian-like strain had emerged as the predominant H5N1 strain in southern China in the past year and caused increased poultry outbreaks. Chinese authorities rejected the report, saying the strain did not exist as a distinct subgroup.A postmeeting statement from the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) affirmed the existence of the Fujian-like strain, but said it has been called several different names.Participants agreed that “a number of significant H5N1 virus groups have been identified from poultry and wild birds in China since 2004,” the statement said. “One such identified group of viruses has been termed differently by several groups. Terms include the ‘waterfowl clade’, ‘clade 2.3’, and ‘Fujian-like’.”The statement also said, “It was agreed there is a need for a shared understanding and a common nomenclature for influenza A(H5N1) groups and that some of the recent confusion about the avian influenza situation in China resulted from multiple terms used to describe the same virus groups.”FAO/OIE/WHO will establish an international working group including Chinese experts to develop global consensus on terminology to be used when describing different influenza A(H5N1) virus groups.”According to a Reuters report, the WHO’s David Heymann told reporters after the meeting, “It’s very important that naming of viruses is done in a way that doesn’t stigmatize countries, that doesn’t stigmatize regions and doesn’t stigmatize individual people.” Heymann is the WHO’s assistant director-general for communicable diseases.Media reports on the meeting said Chinese experts didn’t deny the existence of the Fujian-like strain but did take exception to the name. According to a Canadian Press (CP) report, Chinese officials said the Hong Kong–US researchers had renamed a known H5N1 subgroup that some other authorities called Anhui-like, Anhui being another Chinese province.The FAO-OIE-WHO statement affirmed some aspects of the Hong Kong–US researchers’ report, which was published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For example, the statement said information presented at the meeting indicated that the Fujian-like strain has grown more common in parts of southern China since 2005 and has been found in poultry in Laos and Malaysia this year.In addition, the statement said, “This virus group has been documented to cause some human infection in 2005 and 2006 in China,” as the Hong Kong–US researchers had said.But contrary to another possibility the researchers have suggested, “There is no evidence to date to link the emergence of this virus group with use of poultry influenza vaccination in China.”The statement affirmed that vaccination can control H5N1 in poultry, provided that vaccines are of high quality and well matched to circulating viruses and that vaccination coverage is adequate.”China has recently strengthened poultry surveillance to include serological (antibody) and virus surveillance as well as surveillance for disease outbreaks,” the statement added. With the increased surveillance, China is now publishing data monthly on the Ministry of Agriculture Web site, rather than annually, news services reported.China has been criticized for sharing too little data on the H5N1 virus and too few samples. Last month the country promised to provide samples to the WHO.Keiji Fukuda, coordinator of the WHO global influenza program, said all participants at the meeting agreed that sharing information and virus samples “is critical for the defense of everybody,” according to Reuters.The FAO-OIE-WHO statement said there has been no evidence that the Fujian-like strain is more transmissible to humans than other H5N1 viruses and no evidence that it has sparked human-to-human transmission.See also:Nov 10 CIDRAP News story “Chinese promise H5N1 samples, deny claim of new strain”Nov 3 CIDRAP News story “Study says new H5N1 strain pervades southern China”
Some Undergraduate Student Government officials proposed a resolution calling for the creation of a permanent center for undocumented students at the Senate meeting Tuesday.The Undergraduate Student Government Senate approved a resolution proposed last week to improve wages and compensation for the custodial staff at USC. Yuwei Xi | Daily TrojanThe resolution was presented by Mai Mizuno, the outgoing USG director of external affairs, and asks for a new space on campus dedicated to a dreamer center that would feature at least one full-time coordinator to work with undocumented students. The resolution also proposes that USG and Graduate Student Government create an official resources page for undocumented students to access on the University’s Student Affairs website.“The investment will be aimed at ensuring that the undocumented or at-risk student population is provided any and all information needed regarding proper legal assistance or guidance concerning their immigration status or their family’s immigration status,” the resolution states.The resolution also detailed what the role of this center’s coordinator would be if this resolution is passed, stating that the person to take on the role will be “directly involved in the continuing efforts of USG, [GSG], the administration and other organizations on campus to provide the proper support and assistance to undocumented and at-risk students.”GSG passed a nearly identical variant of this resolution last month and coordinated closely with USG in writing USG’s resolution. The resolution acknowledges the efforts made to address the needs of undocumented students thus far, including the creation of a pop-up center by the American Studies and Ethnicity department.“The pop-up dreamer center has been created by faculty and students to provide a safe space and resources to undocumented undergraduate and graduate students,” the resolution states. “But this center has not been given full-time recognition by the administration nor a dedicated staff member to facilitate its activities.”This pop-up dreamer center was created during Fall 2017 and has a part-time staffer who began holding office hours last week. However, advocates for the new center believe that the current center is too small and understaffed.“Right now, the space is smaller than the USG supply closet,” Mizuno said. “It really only fits a sofa and a desk. That is obviously not enough if you look at the other resource centers on this campus.”The senate also voted 10-1 to approve the USG budget for the 2018-19 academic year. The budget was amended to strike a proposed partnership with The New York Times that would cost $8,000 to provide physical copies of the newspaper on campus. The $8,000 were instead allocated to staff salaries of USG organizations and the philanthropy fund.The Senate also unanimously approved the resolution proposed last week to enhance wages and compensation for the custodial staff at USC. Several custodians attended the meeting to watch the resolution pass. The Senate will vote on the undocumented student center resolution in next week’s Senate meeting, which will be the final meeting of the 2017-18 academic year.