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In Brief

Thursday, March 11, 2004; Page B03

THE Region

Rider Falls, Disrupting Red Line Service

Metro's Red Line service was disrupted for more than an hour yesterday morning after a woman tripped and fell onto a platform as she was exiting a train at Metro Center, transit officials said.

The woman was leaving the fourth car of a six-car train just after 9:30 a.m. when she fell onto the platform, Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. The woman's legs were inside the train, and the rest of her body was on the platform, Farbstein said. She said the woman refused to be moved until paramedics had put a splint on her left leg at 10:04 a.m. She was taken to George Washington University Hospital with an injury to her left knee, Farbstein said.

_____Avian Flu News_____
Death in Thailand May Mark Progression of 'Bird Flu' (The Washington Post, Sep 29, 2004)
Canada to Kill Millions of Birds as Flu Spreads (The Washington Post, Apr 6, 2004)
Live Bird Markets Stir Poultry Industry's Flu Fears (The Washington Post, Mar 25, 2004)
Eastern Shore Farmers Grapple With Avian Flu Outbreak (The Washington Post, Mar 9, 2004)
More on Avian Flu
_____Avian Flu Facts_____

Q. What is avian flu?
Avian influenza is an infectious disease of birds caused by type A strains of the influenza virus. The disease, which was first identified in Italy more than 100 years ago, occurs worldwide.

Q. Is avian flu contagious?
Yes. All birds are thought to be susceptible to infection with avian influenza, though some species are more resistant to infection than others. The first documented infection of humans with an avian influenza virus occurred in Hong Kong in 1997, when the H5N1 strain caused severe respiratory disease in 18 humans, of whom 6 died.

Q. What are the symptoms of avian flu?
Published information on human infection is limited to studies of the 1997 Hong Kong outbreak. Symptoms included fever, sore throat, cough and, in several of the fatal cases, severe respiratory distress secondary to viral pneumonia.

Q. How do you treat avian flu?
The quarantining of infected farms and destruction of infected or potentially exposed flocks are standard control measures aimed at preventing spread to other farms and eventual establishment of the virus in a country’s poultry population.

Q. How can you protect yourself against avian flu?
Workers involved in the culling of poultry flocks must be protected, by proper clothing and equipment, against infection. These workers should also receive antiviral drugs as a prophylactic measure.

Q. How effective is the vaccine?
Vaccination of persons at high risk of exposure to infected poultry, using existing vaccines effective against currently circulating human influenza strains, can reduce the likelihood of co-infection of humans with avian and influenza strains.

WHO Fact Sheet
CDC: Avian Flu Information
Source: World Health Organization

The incident held up all movement on the Red Line in both directions, she said, and residual delays continued past 10:30 a.m.


School Calendar to Get Three More Days

District public school officials announced yesterday that they would add three days to the school year to make up for classes that were canceled during bad weather.

The last day of school will be moved from Monday, June 21, to Thursday, June 24, officials said.

Schools were closed five days this school year because of weather issues. But only two days were built into the school calendar to make up for weather-related closures.


Some Chicken Farm Restrictions Lifted

Maryland officials yesterday lifted some of the restrictions they had imposed after avian flu was found at two chicken farms on Delaware's Eastern Shore in February.

In the section of the Eastern Shore extending north and east of Route 50, poultry and poultry manure can now be transported from farms that have tested negative for the disease, officials said. But restrictions remain in effect in the portion of the Eastern Shore south of Route 50. Those measures were imposed after a case of avian flu surfaced at a farm near Pocomoke City, Md., last week.

State officials also confirmed that the strain of the disease found in Maryland was the same as that identified at the two farms in Delaware, although they said they had not determined the Maryland strain's pathogenicity -- that is, the severity of the illness it causes. The Delaware strain has a low pathogenicity.

Unlike versions of the avian flu in Asia, the strain found in Delaware and Maryland has no history of harming humans, officials said, though it can be deadly to birds. Avian flu is an airborne respiratory illness that spreads easily among chickens through nasal and eye secretions as well as manure. It can be spread on equipment, vehicles and people whose clothing or shoes have come in contact with the virus.

Workers Union, U-Md. Reach Agreement

The union representing about 1,700 support staff and maintenance workers at the University of Maryland has reached an agreement with school officials for a new three-year contract.

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