Sep 5, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Agriculture officials in Idaho announced yesterday that they were investigating an outbreak of low-pathogenic avian influenza at a game farm in the southwestern part of the state after a federal lab confirmed the virus in pheasants.The virus has been identified as subtype H5N8, according to a Sep 3 report that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The farm contains about 30,000 game birds that are raised for hunting activities, the report said. Besides pheasants, the farm has chukars, partridges, and mallard ducks.State officials quarantined the farm on Aug 29 but have not culled any birds at the site, located in Payette County. However, Larry Hawkins, a USDA spokesman, said 300 birds that the farm shipped to California for a bird dog event before the virus was detected were quarantined and culled, the Associated Press (AP) reported today.The farm’s owner did not report an unusual number of bird deaths, but in late August sent three dead pheasants to a lab at Pennsylvania State University for a diagnostic work-up, according to the OIE report. The lab found Pasturella and Mycoplasma in the samples. Routine tests also revealed avian influenza. Sequence testing at the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory led to the H5N8 finding on Sep 3.The virus seems to trace back only to the pheasant pen, which contains about 1,000 birds, the report said.Officials have not determined the source of the virus but suspect that it came from contact with wild birds. Bill Barton, a veterinarian with Idaho’s Department of Agriculture, told the AP that the pheasants were kept in an outside pen that was covered with plastic mesh. He said they could have been exposed to the virus from wild birds that flew or roosted overhead.David Halvorson, DVM, a veterinary pathologist and avian flu expert at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, told CIDRAP News that a wild-bird source of the virus sounds plausible. “They [the game birds] are like live decoys. They’ll attract wild birds to their pens because of the feed and water,” he said.Though low-pathogenic H5N8 hasn’t been seen in the United States over the past several years, there’s nothing alarming about finding the virus at the Idaho farm, he said. “It’s not unusual to find an oddball low-path virus.”Barton said the findings of the investigation will determine how long the birds should be quarantined and if culling is necessary, the AP reported. He said authorities are testing birds at farms within a 2-mile radius of the site and disinfecting the affected game farm.See also:Sep 4 Idaho Department of Agriculture press release
PALO ALTO, Calif. — Senior quarterback Matt Barkley has amassed 29 wins during his Trojan tenure. Much to his dismay, none of those have come against Stanford.History repeats · USC coach Lane Kiffin walks off the field following the Trojans’ defeat at Stanford Stadium. He would later lament during a Sunday media conference call that his offensive line had more missed blocking assignments than “any offensive line group we’ve ever had at any place we’ve been.” – Carlo Acenas | Daily TrojanIn a night plagued by turnovers and inconsistency, No. 13 USC fell to the Cardinal at Stanford Stadium, 21-14. It was the fourth straight time the Trojans have lost to Stanford, making it the only conference foe Barkley has failed to beat in his career.“They played better football than us,” Barkley said. “We were prepared. They outplayed us.”Barkley threw for 254 yards, but also gave up a pair of interceptions and was sacked a season-high four times Saturday. As a team, the Trojans only gained 280 yards in total offense, due in large part to Stanford’s defensive front.“That’s a great front seven,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “They’re even better than last year, giving a lot of people a lot of problems.”The Trojans turned the ball over three times during the game and were unable to sack Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes. Though Kiffin gave credit to the Cardinal, he was emphatic in saying a lot of the damage was self-inflicted.“If you turn the ball over like we did … we were fortunate to be ahead seven at the half,” Kiffin said.“We didn’t play with a lot of discipline today.”Things didn’t bode well from the opening kickoff for the Trojans, as Stanford receiver Ty Montgomery ran it back 64 yards. The Trojan defense held, however, and forced the Cardinal into a 47-yard field-goal attempt that was missed by Jordan Williamson.With about 11 minutes left in the first quarter, Barkley connected with freshman receiver Nelson Agholor on a 49-yard pass as pressure mounted. Junior tailback Silas Redd then drove it into the end zone for the game’s first points.As was the theme Saturday, Stanford had an answer. Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor broke away for a 59-yard touchdown run later in the quarter and finished the night with 153 rushing yards. The defense was solid for the majority of the night but was unable to finish the deal.“It’s disappointing,” senior safety T.J. McDonald said. “You never want to lose. I feel like we put everything we had into it [and] we just came up short.”With a minute left in the first quarter, the Trojans went for it on fourth-and-three and converted on a pass to sophomore tight end Randall Telfer. Redd later took it in for his second score of the day on a two-yard toss play with 11 minutes in the half.After Stanford missed another field goal, Barkley was intercepted with a little over a minute remaining in the half. Sophomore linebacker Dion Bailey returned the favor on the very next play, though, intercepting Nunes. It was his third interception of the season.Barkley gave the Cardinal defense another gift, however, and was intercepted on the next play on what looked like an overthrow to Lee. USC’s offense never looked in sync, even later in the game.“I thought we’d come up in the second half, up by seven … I thought we’d come out and start rolling,” Kiffin said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t.”The strong second half Kiffin was hoping for never came, as a personal foul led to a fourth-and-17 punt. Taylor took a screen pass to the end zone at the end of the third quarter to knot the game at 14 heading into the final quarter. The Cardinal then took a 21-14 lead on a 37-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Ertz.“I thought [Nunes] played great today,” Kiffin said. “He settled down and really made some big throws and [had] the two big runs … he looked like a veteran out there.”Saturday’s loss is a major blow to the Trojans, who have their eyes set on a BCS title run.But Kiffin insisted otherwise.“It isn’t the end of the world,” he said. “We’ll get back on the plane, go back to work and get better and get ready for a home conference game next week.”Barkley, a three-year team captain, agreed with the sentiment.“Drop [the loss],” Barkley said. “You stick together and you go back to playing Trojan football. You have to just not put the blame on anybody and learn from your mistakes and make sure that you bounce back next week.”The Trojans face California on Saturday at 3 p.m. The game will be available on the Pac-12 Network.