Briefs

first_imgn The Food Standards Agency and the British Sandwich Association (BSA) are working on a set of industry guidelines for sandwich manufacturers and sandwich bars, due to be published next year.n Police are investigating an elaborate hoax e-mails were forged between Asda and Tesco bakery department workers, which appeared to show the two supermarkets collaborating to fix the price of bread. An employee from bakery supplier BakeMark has been arrested. BakeMark said it will co-operate with any police investigation. The News of the World revealed the scam.n Retail baker Greggs will open its first airport shop in Scotland in Glasgow Airport in September. It is investing £150,000 in the site.n The British Transport Police (BTP) is offering a £5,000 reward for help finding two people who robbed an Upper Crust bakery at Watford Junction station. The robbery took place at 7.20am on 17 July, when two masked men overpowered a member of staff and forced her to open the safe.n Some 112 guests attended last month’s National Dried Fruit Trade Association Annual Review (NDFTA) event in London, supported by California Raisins. Martin Rome of Whitworths stepped down as NDFTA chairman, with Roby Danon of Voicevale taking over.n Foodservice giant 3663 has won a supply contract for 334 Pizza Express outlets from Woodward Foodservice.n Melton Mowbray pork pie baker Dickinson & Morris has won a Guild of Fine Food Great Taste Gold Award for a second year running.last_img read more

The Disco Biscuits Share Pro-Shot “Portal” > “Overture” Jam From Philly

first_imgEarlier this year, The Disco Biscuits performed three nights at The Fillmore in their hometown of Philadelphia, PA, with opening music from Aqueous. To kick off their first set, the Biscuits opened appropriately with “Coming Home,” a not-so-subtle reference to their return to The City of Brotherly Love. The band also modified the lyrics of “Coming Home,” using the Philly-centric lyrics that were debuted during their New Years Run in 2002 stating “Philly, it’s always been home with a Happy New Year Biscuits coming home.”Of the many highlights included the second set opening “Overture,” which lasted over thirty minutes. This dropped straight into an inverted “Portal To An Empty Head” before swinging through “Overture” once again. The band has shared pro-shot footage from this epic jam, which you can enjoy below:Setlist: The Disco Biscuits | The Fillmore Philadelphia | Philadelphia, PA | 2/2/17Set I: Coming Home-> I-Man-> Vassillios-> Abraxas-> Run Like Hell-> Coming HomeSet II: The Overture-> Portal to an Empty Head-> The Overture, Highwire-> I Remember When, Magellan-> I-ManE: Wet-> Run Like Hell[Setlist/Photo via Disco Biscuits Facebook]last_img read more

Barbara Lindsay Norton, 20-year staffer, dies

first_imgBarbara Lindsay Norton, a longtime Harvard employee, died on Feb. 17 in North Andover, Mass., after illness.Born in Douglas, Ariz., Norton grew up in Medford, Mass., and graduated from Radcliffe College in 1938. During World War II, Norton worked for the Office of War Information in New York City. She continued her professional career after the war working for the YWCA in Boston and in New York City as a public relations director. She moved to Radcliffe College to become a publicity director and then the executive director of the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association. She ended her 20-year career at Harvard as the director of the Cronkhite Graduate Center. Throughout her life, she enjoyed traveling widely, volunteering for numerous causes, and making many friends by whom she is remembered fondly. Nephew Ross FitzGerald, great-nephew Aidan FitzGerald, and great-niece Rebecca FitzGerald survive her. A memorial service will be held at the Edgewood Retirement Community in North Andover, Mass., on Feb. 25 at 1 p.m.last_img read more

Life’s Frankenstein monster beginnings

first_imgWhen the Earth was born, it was a mess. Lightning storms and meteors likely bombarded the planet’s surface, a barren wasteland with little but chemicals present. How life formed amid such chaos is a mystery billions of years old. Now, a new study offers evidence that the first building blocks may have matched their environment, evolving in a less orderly way than previously thought.“Years ago, the naive idea that pools of pure concentrated ribonucleotides might be present on the primitive Earth was mocked by [famed British chemist] Leslie Orgel as ‘the molecular biologist’s dream,’” said Jack Szostak, a Nobel Prize laureate, professor of chemistry and chemical biology and genetics at Harvard University, and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “But how relatively modern homogeneous RNA could emerge from a heterogeneous mixture of different starting materials was unknown.”In a paper recently published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Szostak and colleagues present a new model for how RNA could have emerged. Instead of a straightforward path, he and his team propose a beginning that recalls the mishmash creation of Frankenstein’s monster, with RNA growing out of a mixture of nucleotides with similar chemical structures: arabino-, deoxy-, and ribonucleotides (ANA, DNA, and RNA).The odds are exceedingly low that a perfect version of RNA formed automatically in the Earth’s chemical melting pot, Szostak said. It’s far more likely that many versions of nucleotides merged to form patchwork molecules with bits of both modern RNA and DNA, as well as largely defunct genetic molecules, such as ANA. These chimeras may have been the first steps toward today’s RNA and DNA, along with proteins.,“Modern biology relies on relatively homogeneous building blocks to encode genetic information,” said Seohyun Kim, a postdoctoral researcher in chemistry and first author on the paper. If Szostak and Kim are right and Frankenstein molecules came first, why did they evolve to homogeneous RNA?Kim put them to the test, pitting potential primordial hybrids against modern RNA and manually copying the chimeras to imitate the process of RNA replication. Pure RNA, he found, is more efficient, more precise, and faster than its heterogeneous counterparts. In another surprising discovery, Kim found that the chimeric oligonucleotides — like ANA and DNA — could have helped RNA evolve the ability to copy itself. “Intriguingly,” he said, “some of these variant ribonucleotides have been shown to be compatible with or even beneficial for the copying of RNA templates.”If the more efficient early version of RNA reproduced faster than its hybrid counterparts, it would, over time, out-populate its competitors. That’s what the Szostak team theorizes happened in the primordial soup: Hybrids grew into modern RNA and DNA, which then outpaced their ancestors and, eventually, took over.“No primordial pool of pure building blocks was needed,” Szostak said. “The intrinsic chemistry of RNA copying would result, over time, in the synthesis of increasingly homogeneous bits of RNA. The reason for this, as Seohyun has so clearly shown, is that when different kinds of nucleotides compete for the copying of a template strand, it is the RNA nucleotides that always win, and it is RNA that gets synthesized, not any of the related kinds of nucleic acids.”So far, the team has tested only a fraction of the possible variant nucleotides available on early Earth. So, like those first bits of messy RNA, their work has just begun.last_img read more

Casting for Success – Netting Profitable Customers in Multi-Channel Waters

first_imgThe VT/NH Direct Marketing Group will conduct its annual direct marketing conference at the Equniox Hotel in Manchester, VT on April 26 – 28, 2006. Just a few of this years Casting for Success speakers include Perk Perkins, of Orvis, Don Libey, of Libey Inc., and Patricia Neuray, vice president of sales at Yahoo! Search Marketing.Speakers from Gallagher, Flynn & Company, The Vermont Country Store, Bread Loaf Corporation, and SubscriberMail will cover topics ranging from the Streamlined Sales Tax Project to brand marketing techniques, designing flagship retail stores to effectively using e-mail as a marketing tool.Day one workshops, Day two concurrent seminars,industry leading Keynote Speakers, Silent Auction, peer networking, Entertainment, and vendor exhibits will address all your buiness needs at this not-to-be-missed conference.For full brochure contact VT/NH DMG 888-886-4364 or 802-457-2807.last_img read more

Renewal Of The MILC Program’s Charter Finally Becomes Law

first_img[NOTE: high-resolution photo from the Milk Toast is available at this link:]http://leahy.senate.gov/images/2008Events/052208MILCToast/052208MILCToas…(link is external)(photo by Senate Photographer)’Got MILC’ Across The Finish LineVermont Delegation Performs Traditional ‘Milk Toast’As Renewal Of The MILC Program’s Charter Finally Becomes LawSenate Joins House In OverridingPresident’s Veto Of The Farm BillWASHINGTON (Thursday Afternoon, May 22) – Capping months of effort by the Vermont Congressional Delegation, the MILC Program – the basic safety net for dairy farmers when milk prices plummet – became law Thursday afternoon when the US Senate joined the US House of Representatives in overriding President Bushs veto of a new 5-year Farm Bill.The Vermont Congressional Delegation – Sen. Patrick Leahy (D), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) and Rep. Peter Welch (D) – toasted the victory in the U.S. Capitol with champagne glasses of milk, a tradition that has accompanied the Delegation’s earlier victories on the MILC Program and on its predecessor program, the Northeast Dairy Compact.The extension and expansion of the MILC Program, including a new “feed cost adjuster” that for the first time will also take into account dairy farmers rising production costs, was engineered in the Senate Agriculture Committee by Leahy, and Sanders and Welch worked closely with Leahy in building a bipartisan and multi-regional coalition of support for the plan.Though the MILC Program’s section of the Farm Bill is now law, the unrelated trade policy section may face a re-vote, after an enrolling snafu inadvertently dropped the trade title from the version of the Farm Bill vetoed by the President.Leahy said, “This is a milestone moment for several key Vermont priorities, from our dairy farms to our community food pantries to cleaning up Lake Champlain. The dairy safety net is secure and its stronger than before, and that will help Vermonts farmers plan for the future.”Sanders said, “At a time when family farmers are struggling, and the cost of grain and fuel is soaring, this is enormously important. Not only is this a step forward for family farmers in Vermont and around this country, but a huge step forward for nutrition and addressing the growing hunger problems in America. I thank Senator Leahy for his work on the Agriculture Committee.”Welch said, “The MILC provision becoming law is a major win for Vermont and provides a critical safety net for our farmers. Our delegations commitment and teamwork to secure this dairy provision has paid off.”# # # # #last_img read more

Honey Stinger Nutrition

first_imgWe were 16 miles into a 20 miler and it was looking bleak. Silence had overtaken the running group, tensions were high, and it wasn’t looking good. But then a beacon of hope appeared…in the form of Honey Stinger.Most of us can relate to the scenario from this past week I am describing. You get out into the woods, you’re having fun, and then all of a sudden in a matter of moments it can get very Donner party-esque. Packing snacks is as important as packing your helmet on a bike ride, you need them to have a good time.The times of PB&J and apples are gone, not saying I don’t love that all American classic, but let’s just say there are some options out there now and boy are they tasty. One such company is Honey Stinger, who offers up waffles, bars, chews, and gels to ensure things don’t get dog eat dog out there on the trail.I have been a longtime fan of their waffles, so when Honey Stinger sent me a box of their chews, gels, and energy bars I was eager to get out and give them a try. Since then I have tried them on everything from 45 minute runs around town, 5 hour mountain bike rides, and 20+ mile trail runs, and I can truly say they rock.Let’s start with the Blueberry Buzz Energy Bar. Don’t be alarmed when you unwrap it, let’s just say it’s not the most appealing looking bar I have every dove into. The disappointment stops there, because after you take your first bite you will be singing its praises. They are delicious, end of story. Honey Stinger had the foresight to add a yogurt coated bottom that really rounds out the fruity blueberry flavor quite nicely. Good taste is not the only thing Honey Stinger has up its sleeve though, as this bar is packed with 23 vitamins and minerals, calcium, 5g of protein, 30g of carbs, and the whole thing is 30% honey so it’s got sugar as well. With that much packed into each 170 calorie bar you will be able to go farther, faster, and longer. Last compliment to the bar is the packaging; it was easy to open both on and off the bike, a crucial thing for our cycling fans out there.Moving on now to the Honey Stinger Energy Chews, or should I say ORGANIC Energy Chews. Yep, for those of us who like to watch what we put in the tank Honey Stinger has you covered. I was sent a variety of flavors (Orange Blossom, Pomegranate Passion, Pink Lemonade, Lime-Ade, and Fruit Smoothie) and all of them tasty heavenly. Each package comes with 10 chews which pack 160 calories in total. They have 1g protein and 1g of fiber, not to mention your recommended dietary allowance of Vitamin C per package so they do the trick. Also, I have tried other chews and none have been as soft or as easy to open packaging wise as the Honey Stinger.Honey Stinger Organic ChewsTasty, pack a punch, yep the Honey Stinger Organic chews are spot on. Last but not least we come to the Honey Stinger ORGANIC Energy Gels. You heard right these gels are organic, another plus for our conscious eaters out there. I was sent all three flavors available (Vanilla, Acai Pomegranate, Fruit Smoothie) and just like the bars and chews they were mighty tasty. Nutrition wise they pack 100 calories, 50 mg of potassium, and a host of other things that will keep you going. Packaging was spot on and the tops were easily ripped off which is critical when it’s all that stands between you and the summit.So at this point your thinking okay how much stock has Chase bought in Honey Stinger, but I can honestly say these are some of the best “workout” food items I have ever had. I have been riding and running for close to a decade now so you name it I have probably tried it. Honey Stinger has nailed it with their Blueberry Bars, organic chews, and organic gels. They taste good and pack the punch to keep you going. Also, I know palates change between people so on group rides and runs I handed out quite a few samples and the result was always the same “hey dude you have any more of those?”Bottom line you should go stock up on Honey Stinger food before your next adventure. They are affordable (bars are $1.69 a piece, chews are $2.19 a bag, gels are $1.35 a packet), taste incredible, in the case of the chews and gels are organic, and they keep you going when times get tough.last_img read more

Tight credit, fees reduce Latino homeownership

first_imgby: David MorrisonThe National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals blamed more stringent underwriting standards and higher mortgage fees for driving down the numbers of Hispanics who own homes.The group’s State of Hispanic Homeownership Report surveyed 100 leading Hispanic Realtors in the U.S. and asked them what most stands in the way of Hispanics’ abilities to buy their own homes. The Realtors ranked tight mortgage credit, housing affordability and down payments as the three leading barriers to Hispanic homeownership.The group found that despite 54,000 new Hispanic homeowners in 2014, the rate of Hispanic home ownership dropped to its lowest level since 1999. continue reading » 5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Apple Pay grows in popularity, users happy with platform

first_img 73SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Apple Pay continues to grow in usage and popularity, and users of the mobile wallet platform are overall happier with their experience than users of competing mobile payment providers.Recent data from 451 Research concludes 45 percent of smartphone owners who plan to use mobile payment apps over the next three months will opt for Apple Pay. This puts Apple Pay ahead of PayPal at 28 percent. Additionally, consumers agree Apple’s mobile payment app offers an attractive alternative to PayPal.The study of 4,168 consumers found 25 percent of smartphone owners are likely to use mobile payment apps in the next 90 days, and Apple Pay is their first choice. Of those 25 percent, 11 percent said they would be very likely to use a mobile payment app, while 14 percent said somewhat likely. Those using Apple’s iOS are more than twice as likely (34 percent) to use mobile payment apps compared to Android (16 percent), BlackBerry (13 percent), Samsung (8 percent) or Windows Phone (5 percent) users. Of course, this research was conducted before the release of Android Pay and Samsung Pay, which makes one wonder how that announcement may change consumer predictions about how they plan to use mobile payments and within which wallets.Apple Pay users are also the happiest with their mobile payments, with 66 percent of those who have used Apple Pay saying they’re very satisfied with the service compared with 45 percent for PayPal. continue reading »last_img read more

Is the pandemic threat receding, or does it just look that way?

first_imgFirst in a two-part series examining the numbers and epidemiologic factors surrounding the virus many experts believe could lead to the next pandemic—and what they mean for your business.(CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing) – The apparent lull in avian flu cases may spell apathy for senior executives—even if it means nothing in terms of the danger posed by the H5N1 virus. Use this period to mobilize resources and educate management about why this is not the time to let down your guard.A cursory look at the numbers tells one story.Fewer people are getting sick and dying from H5N1 avian influenza in 2007 than 2006. In the first 4 months of the year, 28 people have been reported and confirmed ill with the virus, down from 62 during the same period last year. News coverage of the deadly H5N1 virus has diminished, almost disappearing. And the pathogen’s apparent lack of momentum coupled with its long-term presence have led many people to tune it out, file it away, or write it off as “public health’s Y2K.”But a closer examination of the epidemiologic features of H5N1 tells a different, more ominous story.The threat is not over—and won’t be for the foreseeable future, according to scientists. The virus remains deadlier than the one responsible for the pandemic of 1918. H5N1’s case-fatality rate (CFR), the ratio of how many people get sick from a disease to how many die of it, has remained steadily high—at about 60%—since it first emerged in 1997.Weekly Briefing asked several influenza experts to put the current numbers of human H5N1 cases and deaths into context to help pandemic planners educate themselves and their senior executives about what these statistics really mean for the threat of a pandemic.2007 statistics in contextSo far this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed 28 cases, 14 of them fatal, from the six countries that have reported them. But the numbers are too small to interpret in a meaningful way, says Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and Editor-in-Chief of Weekly Briefing. “The interpretation of 28 cases over such a short period of time doesn’t mean anything at all,” he says.Just as a spike in cases cannot be interpreted as the start of the next pandemic, neither should a relatively quiet period be seen as the end of H5N1, he says.Keiji Fukuda, MD, head of the WHO’s Global Influenza Programme, agrees. “Progress in reducing poultry outbreaks is encouraging, but as long as H5N1 persists among poultry and other bird populations, it remains a danger to people and a highly concerning threat to initiate a pandemic,” he says.From Apr 1 to Apr 11, the last date the WHO updated its H5N1 cases, the organization confirmed only seven cases of H5N1. But April was a very quiet month in 2006 as well, with only five confirmed cases. Fukuda says variations in the number of cases are expected. “The H5N1 epidemiological patterns during the past few years have taught us to expect up and down patterns in H5N1 activity levels,” he says. “It is clear that this virus has demonstrated its ability to persist for long periods of time and to reappear in places where strong control programs have been put in place. At this point, it is impossible to say the risk for a pandemic has decreased.”In addition, no one knows what the prelude to any pandemic looks like, because no one has ever tracked this type of prepandemic data, says Greg Dworkin, MD, editor of the Flu Wiki Web site, which tracks news and information about influenza. It’s important not to make predictions about how the pandemic will unfold, its virulence, or the number of waves, he says. “Some people say ‘if it’s been around since 1997 in Hong Kong, isn’t that a long time for the virus to not explode?’ The answer is we don’t know. As a wise pandemic expert once said ‘if you’ve seen one pandemic, you’ve seen one pandemic.'”In other words, no one knows whether H5N1 or another virus is going to cause the next pandemic, because viruses appear to follow no predictable pattern as they spread and jump species. For example, the avian influenza virus H3N8 jumped from birds to horses in 1963 and then to dogs—but not until 2004.Looking at only the number of H5N1 poultry outbreaks and human cases in the short term to evaluate the pandemic threat is a mistake, says David Morens, MD, a scientist at the National Institutes for Health, Washington, DC. “It’s spreading and will continue to spread,” he says. “It’s not going to go away. The virus is part of the environment, and it’s likely to be where it is for the foreseeable future.”The recent relatively low number of cases, he says, could be due to saturation of the viral host, meaning that it has infected all the poultry it can possibly infect in a given area, and the poultry either died of the infection or were culled. On average, the life expectancy of a chicken is 35 to 40 days (from hatch to plate). When new, susceptible birds are added to the population, the resultant group has no immunity. Thus, when the virus is reintroduced, it is able to infect a large number.Or, Morens says, the low number of cases could be due to educational efforts to inform people how to stop the disease. “You’re seeing that learning curve,” he says. “So many new communities have had these experiences that there’s perhaps a combination of saturation and a high level of information that allows people to stop transmission.”The number of human deaths attributed to H5N1 (172 worldwide), although no doubt a tragedy for the victims’ families, is small from a public health standpoint, Morens says. At the same time, no one knows how H5N1 might jump from poultry to humans—or whether another, different virus will emerge to cause the next pandemic. “What we worry about is that this virus might in the future become a pandemic virus,” he says. “We don’t know if the turning of this virus into a pandemic virus is possible, and, if it is, we don’t know what it would take to make it happen.”Stable case-fatality rateThe CFR remains high, at 60%. It has hovered between 50% and 75% since February 2004. “It’s a very high case-fatality rate,” Dworkin says. “For those hoping that the case-fatality rate would drop over time, that’s not been seen.”For comparison, the CFR of the 1918 influenza pandemic was 2.5%. “While not predicting an H5N1 pandemic, I think that it [the CFR] is an important statistic to keep in mind for planners who are charged with thinking about worst-case scenarios,” he says.H5N1 in IndonesiaTo further confound things, the official numbers of human infections and deaths from the WHO are misleading, because Indonesia has not been sharing samples of what it has identified as H5N1 since Jan 29, 2007. About one third of the world’s H5N1 cases have occurred in Indonesia. Of Indonesia’s cases, the WHO has confirmed only six this year, five of them fatal. If the unconfirmed Indonesian cases were included, they would boost Indonesia’s 2007 cases to 20 and its deaths to 17—more deadly than that country’s 2005 statistics (20 cases, 13 deaths).Indonesian health officials are not cooperating with the WHO, having called into question the fairness of the WHO and pharmaceutical companies’ using Indonesian virus samples to produce vaccines the country may not be able to obtain or afford. As a result, the WHO has not recognized Indonesia’s H5N1 cases since Jan 29, because the organization cannot confirm the results in an independent lab.If Indonesia resumes sharing H5N1 samples, Fukuda says that WHO labs will test any H5N1 samples provided by Indonesia, which will allow the labs to confirm the infections and include all such H5N1 cases in the WHO statistics. “Alternatively, a lab in Indonesia may demonstrate that it meets the WHO guidelines for H5N1 testing so that the results from Indonesia can be accepted without the need for further verification,” he says. “Even if a country’s laboratory is able to verify H5N1 virus infection, this does not remove the importance of Indonesia and all other countries sharing their H5N1 viruses for risk assessment for vaccine strain selection and development purposes.”Other confounding factorsSeveral factors cloud the accuracy and reporting of data, including problematic data collection, the impact of using antivirals, and a lack of data from previous pandemics.Problematic data collection. In general, countries affected by H5N1 have moved toward more complete reporting, but Indonesia is notable because it has purposefully withheld its H5N1 viruses and sought publicity over this action to highlight the need to improve access to H5N1 and pandemic vaccines for all countries, Fukuda says. “WHO is in complete agreement with the need for more equitable access to these resources but also believes that all countries should, at the same time, support global surveillance, including virus sharing, for influenza,” he says. “For influenza, even Indonesia acknowledges the importance of virus sharing for the purpose of mutual protection against this threat.”Antiviral use. Treating a patient with the antiviral oseltamivir (Tamiflu) can suppress viral growth, potentially resulting in a false-negative test for H5N1, Dworkin says. If, for example, a patient with suspected H5N1 is hospitalized, given Tamiflu, and then tested for H5N1 and the result is negative, the patient’s case would not be recorded as positive—even though the patient may truly be infected with H5N1.Lack of historical data. Predicting the course of a pandemic also is difficult, given incomplete or nonexistent data collection from previous pandemics, according to Dworkin. “What we really need is a complete and total understanding of the natural history of pandemics, from the time that they start to the time that they’re over,” he says. “We simply need to be prudent about what we do know,” which at this time is that H5N1 is still making people ill and recurring in the bird population, its spread may be related to the commercial poultry industry and the smuggling of poultry, and it has a high CFR.H5N1 in birdsJoseph Domenech, chief veterinary officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome, reports fewer H5N1 outbreaks in poultry—the main source of the virus—this year than at the same time last year. He also says that although many countries have managed to contain the virus through quick action, the threat of H5N1 gaining efficiency in human-to-human transmission has not disappeared. “Globally, the situation is a lot better,” he says of H5N1 infection in poultry. “A lot of countries have been able to get rid of the disease, but it doesn’t mean that we are satisfactory and there is no reason to worry. There are still a lot of reasons to worry.”In 2007, H5N1 has affected poultry in 17 countries. Four countries reported their first-ever poultry outbreaks this year: the United Kingdom (Jan 27), Bangladesh (Feb 5), Saudi Arabia (Mar 12), and Ghana (May 2). Others, such as Cambodia, Laos, and Turkey, have seen reintroduction of the virus. The FAO is paying especially close attention to Bangladesh for spread of the virus, Domenech says.Turkey, Thailand, and Vietnam, which had been areas of concern, have done a good job curbing the virus, he says. However, he adds that Indonesia, Egypt, and, to a lesser extent, Nigeria remain H5N1 hot spots.Indonesia, he says, is of particular concern because:Only three of Indonesia’s 33 provinces remain free of H5N1 infection in poultry.The country has the world’s highest human death toll from H5N1 (63 WHO-confirmed deaths, plus 12 more unconfirmed deaths). “The risk of a human pandemic is still the same,” he says.Take the long viewWhile the number of human H5N1 cases may be slightly lower this year than at the same time last year, experts say that meaningful interpretation of such a small number of cases over a few months isn’t possible.Companies most likely to come through a pandemic intact, say experts, are ones that take the long view. Whether it’s caused by H5N1 or a different virus, another pandemic will occur—and businesses need to be ready for it. As Fukuda says: “What is clear is that actions to prepare for a pandemic need to continue.”last_img read more