Sep 11, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – US officials have resolved what they’re calling a lapse in communication that has contributed to China’s delay in sending promised poultry samples of H5N1 avian influenza virus to the United States.Early last week, a Chinese agricultural official told news services that Beijing was still working out a protocol for sharing poultry H5N1 samples with the international community, even though the government had promised in March to provide up to 20 samples for analysis in World Health Organization (WHO)-affiliated laboratories.After the announcement, the newspaper China Daily reported that the agriculture ministry had blamed a US lab for the delay, saying the lab did not complete required import procedures. A WHO representative, however, told Agence France-Presse last week that logistical arrangements were already in place.Kathy Harben, a spokesperson on global issues for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the Associated Press (AP) Sep 8 that the samples were delayed because China and the CDC had problems agreeing whether the samples should be classified as diagnosed or undiagnosed.Packing and handling procedures are the same for both, but Harben said the CDC preferred the samples be shipped as “undiagnosed” because the forms and approval process for such samples take less time. She said the approval process for “diagnosed” samples, the classification preferred by the Chinese agriculture ministry, could take weeks.China and the CDC agreed to have the samples shipped as “diagnosed,” Harben told the AP, and said she expected that the CDC would receive the samples by the end of September.Harben told CIDRAP News today that officials are still working out details about what samples are coming. “We’ll know more later,” she said.The CDC routinely works with China’s health ministry whenever it receives human H5N1 samples; however, Harben said receiving poultry samples is rare and has been somewhat more difficult because CDC officials are making arrangements with a different branch of government, the agriculture ministry.China has not shared avian flu virus samples from poultry since late 2004, according to recent news reports. Poultry H5N1 viruses, especially those from China, are needed to develop vaccines and drugs.
The opening was also attended by Margit Grassinger, director of the Vienna Parks, who donated about thirty bushes of original Viennese roses to Opatija. From the Hungarian city of Balatonfured, they provided young pepper seedlings to American gardens. The city of Opatija has decided to restore the gardens after years of neglect, and yesterday marked the completion of the first phase of restoration. The second phase involves the renovation of the upper entrance to the gardens, the arrangement of the garden house and the cactus bar with herbal drinks. Opatija’s American Gardens, in the renovation of which almost four million kuna was invested, were officially opened yesterday. These are historic gardens that cover over nine thousand square meters, and whose first phase of restoration has been officially completed, reports HRT. The City of Opatija points out that the American Gardens are another content in a series that agencies and hoteliers can offer to guests and that they are suitable for holding various events such as cultural evenings, fashion shows, weddings and similar celebrations. Kuczor married Hilda von Hortenau, daughter of the Viennese ballerina Maria Schleizer and Archduke Otto of Habsburg, nephew of Emperor Francis Joseph. The couple planted gardenia, camellias, magnolias and various Mediterranean plants in the gardens. American gardens are also botanical, and were built by Hungarian entrepreneur Mihaly Kuczor. After visiting Opatija in 1926, a merchant who made a fortune selling Hungarian peppers decided to buy land and build a terraced garden with a monumental entrance and a colonnade of fifteen pillars and fifteen cypresses to delight in the view from the park. “We are obliged to take care of the rich park heritage we have, but also to revitalize it and convert it for tourist purposes so that everyone can enjoy the beauty of the landscape. That is why we started arranging this area, for which in the first phase we provided about two million kuna with the funds of the Ministry of Tourism and the city budget and another 600 kuna for the construction of a pedestrian bridge in accordance with the requirements of the conservator.”, Said the mayor of Opatija, Ivo Dujmić. Source / photo: HRT