May 14, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Canadian authorities say further tests have shown that geese on a farm in southern British Columbia were not infected with a dangerous avian influenza virus, but test results on ducks from the same farm are still awaited.Initial tests of geese and ducks on the farm had indicated possible antibodies to an H5 virus, raising concern about the possibility of H5N1, the subtype blamed for the recent widespread avian flu outbreaks in East Asia. The farm is at Abbotsford in the Fraser Valley, where authorities have been destroying millions of poultry because of an outbreak of H7N3 avian flu.In a statement released late yesterday, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said, “Further testing has revealed that geese on a Fraser Valley farm were not infected with either H5 or H7 avian influenza. There is strong evidence indicating the geese were exposed to the H6 avian influenza virus. The H6 virus is not associated with serious animal or human illness.”Further testing is expected to clarify the status of ducks on the farm, the CFIA said. In an Associated Press (AP) report today, Dr. Cornelius Kiley of the CFIA estimated the tests on the duck samples would take another week. The agency said no illness has been seen in the flock.The Abbotsford farm is within 3 kilometers of farms hit by the H7N3 outbreak, and the flock there was scheduled to be sacrificed in the effort to stop the outbreak, the CFIA said.The agency said it is not surprising to find various avian flu virus subtypes in birds raised outdoors, where they have contact with wild birds. The latter are known to carry various virus strains, most of which don’t cause serious illness in birds.Meanwhile, the AP reported today that more than 21 days have passed since the last avian flu outbreak in Thailand, raising hopes that the country may be free of the disease. The report quoted Agriculture Minister Somsak Thepsuthin as saying, “We admit that we’re not sure bird flu is totally cleared out of Thailand. But we haven’t found the disease anymore in farms.”Somsak said a farm in the northern province of Uttaradit was the site of the last reported outbreak, and no signs of the disease had been seen there since Apr 19, according to the story.More than 37 million birds have been destroyed in the battle to contain avian flu in Thailand. The country has had eight fatal human cases of H5N1 infection. New outbreaks have forced Thai officials several times to postpone plans to declare the nation free of the disease.
And the three remaining games in this week’s New York Yankees-Philadelphia Phillies series also were postponed because of virus worries. In a statement Tuesday, MLB said it wanted to allow the Marlins time to focus on providing care for their players and plan for a resumption of play early next week. The Marlins remained stranded in Philadelphia, where they played last weekend. The Phillies-Yankees games through Thursday were postponed “out of an abundance of caution,” MLB said, although no Phillies players have tested positive.Dr. Anthony Fauci says the Miami Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak could endanger the Major League Baseball season, but he doesn’t believe games needs to stop now.In other MLB news: — Denver Broncos defensive tackle Kyle Peko has decided not to play this season because of concerns over the coronavirus. Peko is a fifth-year pro who was in his second stint with the Broncos. A year ago, Peko left the Buffalo Bills’ training camp to be with his wife as she battled cancer. The couple later said she was cancer free. — The Tennessee Titans have placed their top draft pick on the COVID-19/reserve list. Coach Mike Vrabel announced that move Tuesday at the end of a 40-minute video conference call with reporters. The Titans drafted offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson with the No. 29 pick overall out of Georgia, and Wilson remains the one member of their six-man draft class that has yet to agree to a contract. — Two people with direct knowledge of the decision have confirmed to The Associated Press that Buffalo Bills starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei is voluntarily opting out from playing this season. The 30-year-old Lotulelei has seven years of NFL experience and was entering his third season with the Bills. He has two years remaining on his contract, which will now run through 2022.— Denver Broncos defensive tackle Kyle Peko has decided not to play this season because of concerns over the coronavirus. Peko is a fifth-year pro who was in his second stint with the Broncos. A year ago, Peko left the Buffalo Bills’ training camp to be with his wife as she battled cancer. The couple later said she was cancer free.—The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed running back Wendell Smallwood to a one-year deal, giving the backfield a bit of experienced depth heading into training camp. Smallwood joins a group that includes James Conner, Benny Snell Jr., Jaylen Samuels and rookie Anthony McFarland. Update on the latest sports —The San Francisco 49ers have placed starting receiver Deebo Samuel on the non-football injury list after foot surgery and they say he might miss the start of the season. Samuel suffered a fracture in his left foot last month during informal workouts with teammates in Tennessee and the timeline for his return remains unknown. COLLEGE FOOTBALL-EARLY STARTTeams allowed to begin season earlyUNDATED (AP) — The NCAA is allowing all major college football teams to begin their seasons as early as Aug. 29. The association confirmed that the football oversight committee had requested a blanket waiver to permit any school to push up the start of its season to the so-called Week Zero. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMLB-MARLINS-VIRUSMarlins season suspended through SundayMIAMI (AP) — Major League Baseball has temporarily suspended the Miami Marlins’ season through Sunday because of their worsening coronavirus outbreak. The official start of the season had been Labor Day weekend, with a few games scheduled for Aug. 29. That was before the coronavirus pandemic put the season in peril and schedules were remade to deal with potential disruptions of COVID-19. Some schools and conferences are working on delaying the start of their football seasons while others are trying to get a head start. Kansas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 have both recently moved up their opening games against FCS opponents to Aug. 29.In other virus-related sports developments:— A women’s professional tennis tournament that was supposed to be played in Tokyo in November has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the latest event scratched from the sport’s calendar. The Toray Pan Pacific Open already had been postponed from September because of the COVID-19 outbreak that has put the WTA and ATP tours on hold since March. Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka won that title last year.— Real Madrid says forward Mariano has tested positive for the coronavirus. The announcement comes as the team returns to practice ahead of its Champions League match against Manchester City on Aug. 7. Associated Press — Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria has returned to the team after being isolated for 24 hours with COVID-19 symptoms. He passed MLB’s virus protocol and arrived at Progressive Field about an hour before the White Sox played their first road game this season and a doubleheader against the Indians. Renteria woke up Monday with a “slight cough and nasal congestion” and went to a Cleveland hospital for tests as a precautionary measure. — The New York Mets have agreed to a minor league contract with catcher Bruce Maxwell, the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice in 2017. That’s according to a person familiar with the deal. — The Kansas City Royals signed former All-Star Matt Harvey to a minor league contract. The Royals announced the move before Tuesday night’s game at Detroit. The 31-year-old Harvey has struggled to recapture the form that made him a key member of the New York Mets when they faced Kansas City in the 2015 World Series. — Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes is joining the ownership group of the Kansas City Royals. The Royals announced the addition of Mahomes, the star quarterback who led the Kansas City Chiefs to a Super Bowl title last season, on Tuesday. Mahomes was once a baseball prospect and was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2014. NFL-PATRIOTS-HIGHTOWER NHL-RACIAL INJUSTICEBruins to lock arms for anthems to promote racial equalityBoston Bruins players plan to lock arms during the U.S. and Canadian anthems to promote racial equality, while members of the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins lined up together Tuesday before the first exhibition game of the NHL’s restarted season.The league said it would feature Black Lives Matter and other social justice issues during opening ceremonies this weekend in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta. NHL executive Steve Mayer expects other demonstrations to happen organically.The Bruins became the first team to announce its intentions to highlight racial injustice as part of what players said is “a sign of solidarity with the Black community.” July 28, 2020 Patriots’ Hightower opts outBOSTON (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says New England Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower has decided to opt out of the 2020 season. The source says Hightower’s decision was made out of concern for the health of his fiancée and child, who was born earlier this month. Two other people told the AP that starting right tackle Marcus Cannon and fullback Danny Vitale have also chosen to sit out the season, citing health concerns.In other NFL developments: