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Discussion thread: H5N1 avian flu in US Dairy Cows - March 24+ - 10 human cases

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  • sharon sanders
    commented on 's reply
    We did not receive any notice of today's USDA/HHS press conference so I am asking for us to be reinstated to the HHS listserv. We are on the CDC media notification list.

  • sharon sanders
    replied

    From:
    "FluTrackers" <flutrackers@earthlink.net>
    To: <media@hhs.gov>
    Subject: Request from flutrackers.com to be reinstated to listserve (distribution list) for media events
    Date: May 10, 2024 4:07 PM​


    Dear HHS -

    At one time we were on the media listserve (distribution list) for media advisories, press conferences, etc.

    Please reinstate us.

    Thank you!


    Sincerely,

    Sharon Sanders
    Editor-in-Chief
    FluTrackers.com

    Leave a comment:


  • sharon sanders
    replied
    Thank you to our entire team.

    While many of our volunteers are US citizens, we do not make any excuses for the US government on this site. We will continue to call out policy problems when we see them. It is only fair. We have been very critical of other governments (China) for some of their infectious disease policies and/or inaction. Our team will certainly point out those same issues in the US.

    Leave a comment:


  • Treyfish
    replied
    Avian flu found in dairy herds in Gratiot, Isabella counties

    By Emily Keinath
    Published: May. 10, 2024 at 2:14 PM EDT|Updated: 1 hour ago​

    MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) - The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been detected in dairy herds in Gratiot and Isabella counties.

    Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Tim Boring made the announcement on Friday, May 10.

    The detections were confirmed by the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and samples were sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratory for additional confirmatory testing….

    https://www.wnem.com/2024/05/10/avia...ella-counties/

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  • Treyfish
    replied

    U.S. pledges $200 million and other aid to help track and contain bird flu on dairy farms

    BYJONEL ALECCIA, MIKE STOBBE AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    May 10, 2024 at 2:40 PM EDT​


    U.S. health and agriculture officials pledged nearly $200 million in new spending and other efforts Friday to help track and contain an outbreak of bird fluin the nation’s dairy cows that has spread to more than 40 herds in nine states.

    The new funds include $101 million to continue work to prevent, test, track and treat animals and humans potentially affected by the virus known as Type A H5N1, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said. And they include about $98 million to provide up to $28,000 each to help individual farms test cattle and bolster biosecurity efforts to halt the spread of the virus, according to the Agriculture Department.
    ​…..


    The incentives should help increase farmers’ willingness to test their herds, said Keith Poulsen, director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, who has been monitoring the outbreak.

    “It provides the latitude and capacity to start going in the right direction,” he said.

    The new spending comes more than six weeks after the first-ever detection….



    Leave a comment:


  • sharon sanders
    commented on 's reply
    Now we are talking....positive moves....a beginning...needs a few adjustments...but overall...very good.....

  • Treyfish
    replied
    to Pathfinder!! Thanks for the post, I’m sure we are about to see a rather large increase in herds and people positives. Better late than never I hope!!

    1 USDA, HHS Announce New Actions to Reduce Impact and Spread of H5N1 (May 10, 2024)

    Today, 01:44 PM
    USDA, HHS Announce New Actions to Reduce Impact and Spread of H5N1

    Release & Contact Info

    Fact Sheet
    Release No. 0082.24

    Contact: USDA/HHS
    Email: press@usda.gov
    media@hhs.gov

    On March 25, 2024, immediately following the first detection of H5N1 in dairy cattle in the Texas panhandle region, USDA and HHS began their work to understand the origin of the emergence and its potential impact in bovines and humans. USDA experts also took swift action to trace animal movements, began sampling to assess the disease prevalence in herds, and initiated a variety of testing activities to confirm the safety of the meat and milk supplies alongside federal partners. On April 1, 2024, Texas reported the first and only confirmed human H5N1 infection associated with this outbreak, after confirmation by CDC. On April 24, 2024, USDA issued a Federal Order, that took effect on April 29, to limit the movement of lactating dairy cattle and to collect and aggregate H5N1 test results to better understand the nature of the outbreak.

    Since the detection of H5N1 in dairy cattle, the Federal response has leveraged the latest available scientific data, field epidemiology, and risk assessments to mitigate risks to workers and the general public, to ensure the safety of America’s food supply and to mitigate risk to livestock, owners, and producers. Today, USDA is taking a series of additional steps to help achieve these goals and reduce the impact of H5N1 on affected premises and producers, and HHS is announcing new actions through the CDC and FDA to increase testing and laboratory screening and testing capacity, genomic sequencing, and other interventions to protect the health and safety of dairy and other potentially impacted food items.

    USDA

    Today, USDA is announcing assistance for producers with H5N1 affected premises to improve on-site biosecurity in order to reduce the spread. In addition, USDA is taking steps to make available financial tools for lost milk production in herds affected by H5N1. Building on the Federal Order addressing pre-movement testing, these steps will further equip producers with tools they can use to keep their affected herds and workers healthy and reduce risk of the virus spreading to additional herds.

    Protect against the potential for spread between human and animals. Provide financial support (up to $2,000 per affected premises per month) for producers who supply PPE to employees and/or provide outerwear uniform laundering, for producers of affected herds who facilitate the participation of their workers in USDA/CDC workplace and farmworker study.

    Complementary to USDA’s new financial support for producers, workers who participate in the study are also eligible for financial incentives to compensate them for their time, regardless of whether the study is led by federal, state, or local public health professionals.

    Support producers in biosecurity planning and implementation. Provide support (up to $1,500 per affected premises) to develop biosecurity plans based on existing secure milk supply plans. This includes recommended enhanced biosecurity for individuals that frequently move between dairy farms – milk haulers, veterinarians, feed trucks, AI technicians, etc. In addition, USDA will provide a $100 payment to producers who purchase and use an in-line sampler for their milk system.

    Provide funding for heat treatment to dispose of milk in a bio secure fashion. This will provide producers a safe option for disposal of milk. Heat treatment performed in accordance with standards set by FDA is the only currently available method considered to effectively inactivate the virus in milk. If a producer establishes a system to heat treat all waste milk before disposal, USDA will pay the producer up to $2,000 per affected premises per month.

    Reimburse producers for veterinarian costs associated with confirmed positive H5N1 premises. This provides support to producers to cover veterinary costs necessarily incurred for treating cattle infected with H5N1, as well as fees for veterinarians to collect samples for testing. This can include veterinary fees and/or specific supplies needed for treatment and sample collection. Veterinary costs are eligible to be covered from the initial date of positive confirmation at NVSL for that farm, up to $10,000 per affected premises.

    Offset shipping costs for influenza A testing at laboratories in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). USDA will pay for the cost of shipping samples to NAHLN labs for testing. USDA will pay actual shipping costs, not to exceed $50 per shipment for up to 2 shipments per month for each affected premises. Testing at NAHLN laboratories for samples associated with this event (e.g., pre-movement, testing of sick/suspect animals, samples from concerned producers) is already being conducted at no-cost to the producer.

    Taken together, these tools represent a value of up to $28,000 per premises to support increased biosecurity activities over the next 120 days.

    Compensate producers for loss of milk production. USDA is taking steps to make funding available from the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to compensate eligible producers with positive herds who experience loss of milk production. While dairy cows that have been infected with H5N1 generally recover well, and there is little mortality associated with the disease, it does dramatically limit milk production, causing economic losses for producers with affected premises. USDA can support farmers with the ELAP program to offset some of these losses. This compensation program is distinct from the strategy to contain the spread.

    Work with states to limit movement of lactating cattle. Additionally, USDA will work with and support the actions of States with affected herds as they consider movement restrictions within their borders to further limit the spread of H5N1 between herds to reduce further spread of this virus.

    USDA will make $98 million in existing funds available to APHIS to fund these initiatives. If needed, USDA has the authority, with Congressional notification, to make additional funds available.

    These additional measures build on a suite of actions USDA has taken to date. This includes implementation of the Federal Order to limit spread of the disease, coordinating with federal partners to share expertise and lab capacity, doubling down on our work with producers to practice good biosecurity measures, continuing to conduct investigations to determine how the virus is spread within and between farms, and analyzing and sharing sequences alongside validated epidemiological information.

    The U.S. government is addressing this situation with urgency and through a whole-of- government approach. USDA is working closely with federal partners at FDA, which has the primary responsibility for the safety of milk and dairy products, by assisting with conducting lab testing at USDA labs. USDA is also working closely with federal partners at CDC, which has the primary responsibility for public health, by encouraging producer and industry cooperation with public health officials to get vital information necessary to assess the level of risk to human health.

    Additional details on how producers can access and apply for the financial tools is forthcoming.

    HHS

    Today, HHS announced new funding investments through CDC and FDA totaling $101 million to mitigate the risk of H5N1 and continue its work to test, prevent, and treat H5N1. Although the CDC’s assessment of the risk of avian influenza infection for the general public continues to remain low at this time, these investments reflect the Department’s commitment to prioritizing the health and safety of the American public.

    Public and animal health experts and agencies have been preparing for avian influenza outbreak for 20 years. Our primary responsibility at HHS is to protect public health and the safety of the food supply, which is why we continue to approach the outbreak with urgency. We stood up a response team which includes four HHS agencies – CDC, FDA, NIH and ASPR – which are working closely with USDA to:
    • Ensure we keep communities healthy, safe, and informed;
    • Ensure that our Nation’s food supply remains safe;
    • Safeguard American agriculture and the livelihood and well-being of American farmers and farmworkers; and
    • Monitor any and all trends to mitigate risk and prevent the spread of H5N1 among both people and animals.

    Some examples of this work include:
    • CDC monitoring of the virus to detect any changes that may increase risk to people, and updated avian flu guidance for workers to ensure people who work with dairy cows and those who work in slaughterhouses have the guides and information they need in both English and Spanish.
    • CDC's ongoing discussions with multiple states about field investigations and incentives for workers who participate in these on-site studies. CDC has also asked health departments to distribute existing PPE stocks to farm workers, prioritizing those who work with infected cows. To help states comply with CDC recommendations, ASPR has PPE in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) available for states to request if needed.
    • FDA’s close coordination with USDA to conduct H5N1 retail milk and dairy sample testing from across the country to ensure the safety of the commercial pasteurized milk supply. NIAID – a part of NIH - is also providing scientific support to this entire effort through six U. S. based Centers for Excellence for Influenza Research and Response, known as CEIRRs.

    Today, in light of HHS’ ongoing commitment to ensure the safety of the American people and food supply, HHS announced additional resources to further these efforts through CDC and FDA:

    CDC announced it has identified an additional $93 million to support its current response efforts for avian influenza. Building on bipartisan investments in public health, this funding will allow CDC to capitalize on the influenza foundation that has been laid over the last two decades, specifically where CDC has worked domestically and globally to prevent, detect, and respond to avian influenza.

    These investments will allow CDC to bolster testing and laboratory capacity, surveillance, genomic sequencing, support jurisdictions and partner efforts to reach high risk populations and initiate a new wastewater surveillance pilot.
    • $34 million in Testing and Laboratory Capacity to:
      • Develop and optimize assays that can be used to sequence virus independent of virus identification.
      • Assess circulating H5N1 viruses for any concerning viral changes, including increased transmissibility or severity in humans or decreasing efficacy of diagnostics or antivirals.
      • Support the ability of STLT Public Health Labs throughout the country to surge their testing abilities, including support for the additional costs of shipping human avian influenza specimens, which are select agents.
      • Through the International Reagent Resource (IRR), support manufacture, storage, and distribution of roughly one thousand additional influenza diagnostic test kits (equaling nearly around one million additional tests) for virologic surveillance. The IRR would also provide influenza reagents for research and development activities on a global scale. This is in addition to current influenza testing capacity at CDC and in STLT public health and DOD labs, which is approximately 490,000 H5-specific tests.
      • Address the manufacturer issue detected with current avian flu test kits.
      • Initiate avian flu testing in one commercial laboratory.
    • $29 million in Epidemiology, Surveillance, and Data Analytics to:
      • Scale up existing efforts to monitor people who are exposed to infected birds and poultry to accommodate workers at likely many more poultry facilities, as well as potentially workers at other agricultural facilities and other people (e.g., hunters) who may be exposed to species that pose a threat.
      • Scale up contact tracing efforts and data reporting to accommodate monitoring of contacts of additional sporadic cases.
      • Support the collection and characterization of additional clinical specimens through established surveillance systems from regions with large numbers of exposed persons to enhance the ability to detect any unrecognized cases in the community if they occur.
      • Expand respiratory virus surveillance to capture more samples from persons with acute respiratory illness in different care settings.
      • Support continuation and possible expansion of existing respiratory surveillance platforms and vaccine effectiveness platforms.
    • $14 million in Genomic Sequencing to:
      • Provide bioinformatics and data analytics support for genomic sequencing at CDC that supports surveillance needs for enhanced monitoring.
      • Expand sequencing capacity for HPAI in state-level National Influenza Reference Centers (NIRCs), Influenza Sequencing Center (ISC), and Pathogen Genomic Centers of Excellence.
    • $8 million in Vaccine Activities to:
      • Analyze circulating H5N1 viruses to determine whether current Candidate Vaccine Viruses (CVVs) would be effective and develop new ones if necessary.
    • $5 million in STLT Jurisdiction/Partner Funding to:
      • Support partner efforts to reach high risk populations.
    • $3 million in Wastewater Surveillance to:
      • Initiate wastewater pilot to evaluate the use case for HPAI in up to 10 livestock - adjacent sites in partnership with state and local public health agencies and utility partners.
      • Implement a study to evaluate the use of Influenza A sequencing in wastewater samples for highly pathogenic avian influenza typing. Initiate laboratory evaluation for HA typing and examine animal-specific markers in community wastewater to assess wildlife and livestock contribution and inform interpretation of wastewater data for action.

    Additionally, the FDA is announcing an additional $8 million is being made available to support its ongoing response activities to ensure the safety of the commercial milk supply. This funding will support the agency’s ability to validate pasteurization criteria, conduct surveillance at different points in the milk production system, bolster laboratory capacity and provide needed resources to train staff on biosecurity procedures. Additionally, these funds will help support H5N1 activities in partnership with state co-regulatory partners, who administer state programs as part of the federal/state milk safety system. It may also allow the FDA to partner with universities on critical research questions.

    Additional Information:

    To learn more about USDA’s response to H5N1 in dairy cattle, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/livestock-poultry-disease/avian/avian-influenza/hpai-detections/livestock.

    To learn more about CDC’s response to H5N1, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/mammals.htm.

    To learn more about FDA’s response to H5N1, visit www.fda.gov/food/alerts-advisories-safety-information/updates-highly-pathogenic-avian-influenza-hpai

    #​

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  • Pathfinder
    replied
    Originally posted by Treyfish View Post
    US to post influenza A wastewater data online to help with bird flu probe, official says

    By Julie Steenhuysen
    May 9, 20245:40 PM EDTUpdated 23 min ago​

    CHICAGO, May 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is planning to post data on influenza A found in wastewater in a public dashboard possibly as soon as Friday that could offer new clues into the outbreak of H5N1 bird flu in cattle herds.
    CDC wastewater team lead Amy Kirby told Reuters that the agency has identified spikes of influenza A, of which H5N1 is a subtype, in a handful of sites and is investigating the source. She said there is no indication of human infection with H5N1.​…

    https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-...ys-2024-05-09/

    How CDC is monitoring influenza data to better understand the current avian influenza A (H5N1) situation in people

    Updated May 10, 2024​
    ...
    Monitoring for Influenza in Wastewater
    • Wastewater surveillance can complement other existing influenza virus surveillance systems to monitor influenza trends.
    • Currently, CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System (NWSS) has over 600 sites reporting influenza A virus data to CDC. Data are reported by a variety of NWSS partners. Public health jurisdictions have access to and can monitor NWSS influenza A virus data. Current wastewater testing detects but does not distinguish influenza A(H5N1) virus from other influenza A virus subtypes.
    • CDC is monitoring wastewater data for any evidence of unusual levels of influenza and is working to develop and validate an influenza wastewater metric that will be publicly shared soon on CDC’s website.
    • This metric will compare the current influenza A virus levels for a specific sewer system to influenza A virus levels from the 2023-24 respiratory virus season.
    • Data will be displayed for individual sewer systems rather than aggregating at the state or regional level to show increases that are limited to a single sewer system, which may be more relevant in the current situation.
    • For sites with unusual influenza A virus activity detected in wastewater data, we will notify relevant partners and continue to actively investigate. Part of this work might include collaboration with partners to better understand factors contributing to these increases such as animal sources located in individual sewer systems (e.g., waste from a milk processing plant).
    ​...

    How CDC is monitoring influenza data to better understand the current avian influenza A (H5N1) situation in people Español (https://espanol.cdc.gov/enes/flu/avianflu/h5-monitoring.html) | Other Languages (https://wwwn.cdc.gov/pubs/other-languages/) Print (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h5-monitoring.html#print) Updated May

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  • Pathfinder
    replied
    Translation Google

    Avian flu: why the pig is the center of attention, according to the president of Covars

    Alexis de la Fléchère, edited by Gauthier Delomez / Photo credits: Mathieu Thomasset / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP 06:28, May 10, 2024

    The World Health Organization has expressed concern about the spread of avian flu around the world. The virus has multiplied in several animal species, but not in pigs, which is reassuring, underlines Brigitte Autran, president of Covars, speaking to Europe 1.

    “What is really worrying, and what can promote a human epidemic, is the passage of the virus currently present in birds and now in cows, to pigs. The real risk is really pork,” explains Brigitte Autran , professor emeritus in immunology and president of Covars (the former Scientific Council), at the microphone of Europe 1.
    ...
    The immunologist explains: "In pork or pig, there can be several influenza viruses present at the same time which will produce what we call in our jargon a 'recombination', with a capacity to modify the virus which could become highly transmissible to humans."

    However, Brigitte Autran emphasizes that "what is reassuring is that there is no human-to-human transmission to date, and there has not been any in the 20 years that we have known about this virus."

    L'Organisation mondiale de la santé a fait part de son inquiétude sur l'expansion de la grippe aviaire dans le monde. Le virus s'est multiplié au sein de plusieurs espèces animales, mais pas au cochon, ce qui est rassurant souligne Brigitte Autran, présidente du Covars, au micro d'Europe 1.

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  • sharon sanders
    replied
    From April 3 link

    Originally posted by sharon sanders View Post
    "At this time, APHIS is not requiring testing. Testing may be done on a voluntary basis and is a tool producers may use to help manage this disease or reduce the risk of introducing the disease." link

    This policy is ridiculous. There should be massive widespread testing to, at the very least, quantify the size of the problem.

    Irresponsible and against standard outbreak surveillance protocol.
    How to Stop Bird Flu from Becoming the Next Pandemic

    MAY 9, 2024 2:21 PM EDT

    snip


    "We must stop flying blind. Regular and widespread testing is our only way to detect H5N1 and stop the virus from spreading."


    The most important tool in our arsenal is widespread testing, write Janika Schmitt and Michael Mina. We're not doing enough of it.

    Leave a comment:


  • sharon sanders
    replied
    Originally posted by sharon sanders View Post
    I can't even express my feelings about the lack of testing/visibilty. What comes to mind is China.

    The feds need to get out their checkbook. It is probably the only thing that will make a difference. Farmer $ relief for H5N1 losses in exchange for access and cooperation. State reimbursement for various H5N1 costs in exchange for assistance with access and information.

    Everything usually boils down to money.
    Partial reimbursement federal program under certain conditions for poultry producers.....


    AnnieRN
    @ann_mcnitt
    ·
    1h
    Replying to
    @FluTrackers
    Image
    Image


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    added link https://www.aphis.usda.gov/sites/def...sation.508.pdf
    Last edited by sharon sanders; May 9, 2024, 05:29 PM. Reason: added link to original pdf

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  • Treyfish
    replied
    US to post influenza A wastewater data online to help with bird flu probe, official says

    By Julie Steenhuysen
    May 9, 20245:40 PM EDTUpdated 23 min ago​

    CHICAGO, May 9 (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is planning to post data on influenza A found in wastewater in a public dashboard possibly as soon as Friday that could offer new clues into the outbreak of H5N1 bird flu in cattle herds.
    CDC wastewater team lead Amy Kirby told Reuters that the agency has identified spikes of influenza A, of which H5N1 is a subtype, in a handful of sites and is investigating the source. She said there is no indication of human infection with H5N1.​…

    Leave a comment:


  • Treyfish
    replied
    Thursday, May 09, 2024

    USDA Adds 6 More Herds To HPAI Infected List







    #18,052

    While the number of affected states (n=9) has not changed, and there is evidence suggesting that the number of herds infected is likely far greater than has been identified, the USDA has added 6 more herds to their list (4 from Michigan, 1 from Idaho, and 1 from Colorado).









    These are the first additions to the list since April 25th, bringing the total to 42 herds.


    We've previously seen official statements, and media reports, indicating that some farms - and even some state agencies - have `resisted' efforts by federal agencies, including the CDC and USDA, to do testing on cattle and farm workers.



    Unfortunately, this `Don't test, don't tell' policy extends beyond just cattle, which means this virus could be expanding its host range without our knowledge.



    Posted by Michael Coston at 4:13 PM​ Thanks Mike!

      #18,052 While the number of affected states (n=9) has not changed, and there is evidence  suggesting that the number of herds infected is ...

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  • Treyfish
    replied
    The bird flu outbreak brings more questions than answers


    TIMES
    BY LISA JARVIS
    BLOOMBERG
    SHARE
    May 9, 2024

    As the magnitude of the bird flu outbreak in cattle becomes clearer, so does the need to quickly get a firmer grip on some basic facts. Namely, how far this H5N1 virus has spread, how it is spreading and where this situation is likely to go next. The COVID-19-weary public also wants to know whether humans are at risk.

    Public agencies must move faster and collaborate more efficiently to answer some of those unknowns. After all, this is a pathogen that has loomed large in the minds of infectious disease experts for its potential to cause a deadly human pandemic.



    "It’s fair to say for every question we’ve had answered in the last month, we have 10 to 15 new questions,” says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy in Minnesota.

    Among the most essential: Just how widespread is this outbreak?

    The seriousness of the situation escalated after scientists ….

    Widespread testing is essential to understanding the outbreak’s true scope — and to have any hope of containing it. But that’s easier said than done. Consider that tens of thousands of cows are being moved around the country any given week, says Keith Poulsen, Director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "We can’t test them all, so we need to test where it’s going to be logistically easy to accomplish.”

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently said cows could not be moved between states without a negative H5N1 test and expanded the amount of testing it will pay for. But the agency is still only requiring farms to test a few dozen cows out of each group, an approach that is not sufficient to stop the spread…..

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/comment...-flu-outbreak/

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  • Treyfish
    replied
    ….Although there’s little hard data at this point, scientists say the available evidence suggests that many more animals are likely being infected and producing virus-laced milk without any noticeable symptoms or changes to their milk’s color and consistency.’

    [link to www.statnews.com (secure)]​

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