Apr 10, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The spring decline of US influenza activity picked up speed last week, when only four states still reported widespread flu activity, down from 13 a week earlier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today.Eighteen states reported regional flu activity for the week that ended Apr 4, while another 20 had only local activity, the agency said. The rest of the states had only sporadic cases or didn’t report. The states still dealing with widespread flu were Alabama, New York, Virginia, and Washington.Despite some problems with antiviral resistance, this season appears to have been a fairly mild one, at least in comparison with last year, when two of the three flu strains in the vaccine didn’t match up well with the viruses making people sick.Medical visits to the CDC’s network of sentinel providers for treatment of influenza-like illness (ILI) this season have run well below last season. A chart in the CDC report shows that the proportion of visits for ILI this season peaked in February at about 3.5% of all visits, whereas at last year’s peak, also in February, ILI accounted for about 6% of all medical visits. Last week the proportion of visits ascribed to ILI was 1.6%, well below the epidemic threshold of 2.4%.Two flu-related deaths in children were reported last week, one each in Illinois and Virginia, the CDC reported. That brings the seasonal total to 45 deaths, which is well below the overall toll of 88 for the 2007-08 season and 78 for 2006-07.Of the 45 children who died, 27 were tested for secondary bacterial infections, and 12 tested positive. Eight of these had Staphylococcus aureus infections, three of which involved methicillin-resistant (MRSA) strains.In another sign of a fairly mild season, flu-related hospitalization rates for children under age 4 this season have been well below those of last season, the CDC report shows. Through Mar 21, data from the New Vaccine Surveillance Network show the rate for this season was 1.46 hospitalizations per 10,000 children.Flu-related hospitalization rates for adults this season also were well below last season’s level, according to data from the CDC’s Emerging Infections Program (EIP). Rates for adults this year were fairly close to those recorded in 2006-07, a chart based on EIP data shows.As for overall flu-related deaths, 7.4% of deaths reported through the CDC’s 122-city mortality surveillance system last week were attributed to pneumonia and influenza, which is below the epidemic threshold of 7.8%, the CDC said. A chart shows that the percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and flu never surpassed the epidemic threshold this season, whereas it hovered above that level for several weeks last season.Continuing a trend of the past several weeks, influenza B viruses were the most common type identified last week, though type A viruses have been predominant in the season overall. Of 348 viruses that were typed, 203 (58.3%) were type B. For the whole season, 67.9% of isolates have been type A and 32.1% type B.Most of the type B viruses tested this year have not been a good match for the B strain in this year’s vaccine. The latest numbers show that of 263 type B viruses that have been antigenically characterized, 50 belonged to the Yamagata lineage used in the vaccine, while 213 belonged to the Victoria lineage and were not related to the vaccine strain.However, all influenza A isolates that the CDC has studied have been well matched to the strains in this year’s vaccine. These include 594 A/H1N1 viruses and 88 A/H3N2 isolates, the CDC reports.Among influenza A viruses, the H1N1 subtype has predominated over H3N2 this season. That may be a factor in the relatively mild season, as experts say that seasons tend to be more severe when H3N2 viruses dominate.Today’s report shows a continuation of the season-long pattern of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) resistance in H1N1 viruses. It says 694 of 699 (99.3%) tested H1N1 isolates showed resistance to the drug, while all tested H3N2 and B viruses have been sensitive to oseltamivir and the other neuraminidase inhibitor, zanamivir (Relenza). The resistance findings prompted the CDC to revise its recommendations for antiviral treatment in December.Nearly all H1N1 isolates tested this season have been sensitive to the older antiviral drugs, amantadine and rimantadine. However, all tested H3N2 viruses have shown resistance to those drugs.See also: CDC flu updatehttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/
Due to damage from the derecho, a community-wide power outage and no supply of gasoline due to the power outage, the City of Marshalltown remains under a civil emergency. Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer says there is just so much damage.“Drive past the fire station and you’ll notice all of the doors are damaged to get the fire trucks in and out — on both sides. We know homeowners are experiencing the same thing,” Greer says. “There’s ‘Iowa Nice,’ but there’s also looting in places so this is an emergency. It looks like a war zone again.” Greer says as in other areas of the state, it may take a while to determine what the final damage estimate may be. For many businesses, those expenses will be on top of the repair bills for damage from the July 19, 2007 EF-3 tornado that roared down Main Street. At the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown, the good news is that no residents and staff were injured, but the early estimate of damage on the grounds is in the four-to-five MILLION dollar range. Commandant Timon Oujiri says many of the buildings were damaged.“Malloy, Schuller, Dack, Whitehill, our medical clinic roofing all had sustained damage; holes were punched into them,” Oujiri says. “…Heinz Hall sustained the most major damage of the buildings on the Iowa Veteran’s grounds.” Heinz Hall, which is 120 years old, has space for 115 residents. Qujiri says roughly 100 trees on campus were also damaged by the derecho.
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! As new housing tracts bring more students, Antelope Valley school districts are building new schools, planning others and thinking about asking voters to approve more taxes and bond issues. Antelope Valley Union High School District and Westside Union School District are contemplating putting bond measures before voters within the next two years, though none have made final decisions yet. Muroc Joint Unified School District has hired a financial consultant to study whether the district should pursue a bond measure. Voters in the high school district and Westside have previously passed tax measures, but those funds have been or will soon be exhausted by building other schools. The high school district is completing construction on the new Eastside High School, whose first class started in 2005 in temporary quarters, and has started planning for a ninth high school in southeast Palmdale. Lancaster School District has a middle school under construction, will break ground for an elementary school in late spring, and is in the planning stages for a second elementary school. Westside plans to start construction on an elementary school this year. ANTELOPE VALLEY PUBLIC SCHOOLS Acton-Agua Dulce Unified Schools: Two elementary, one middle, one high school in Acton and Agua Dulce Traditional calendar Pupil-teacher ratio: 23-to-1 Credentialed teachers: 95.2 percent One-year dropout rate: .2 percent Average SAT scores: 477 verbal, 441 math Web site: aadusd.k12.ca.us Antelope Valley Union High Schools: Eight comprehensive high schools, two continuation, two community-day, one adult school in Palmdale, Lancaster, Quartz Hill and Littlerock Traditional calendar Pupil-teacher ratio: 25-to-1 Credentialed teachers: 76.8 percent One-year dropout rate: 1.8 percent Average SAT scores: 473 verbal, 472 math Web site: avdistrict.org Eastside Union Schools: Three elementary, one middle in east Lancaster Traditional calendar Pupil-teacher ratio: 20-to-1 Credentialed teachers: 92.1 percent Web site: eastside.k12.ca.us Hughes-Elizabeth Lakes Union Schools: One K-8 school in Lake Hughes Traditional calendar Pupil-teacher ratio: 21-to-1 Credentialed teachers: 94.7 percent Web site: www.heluesd.org Keppel Union Schools: Five elementary, one intermediate in Littlerock, Pearblossom and Palmdale Year-round calendar with one track Pupil-teacher ratio: 21-to-1 Credentialed teachers: 98.9 percent Web site: www.keppel.k12.ca.us Lancaster Schools: Twelve elementary, five middle, one alternative in Lancaster Traditional and year-round calendar Pupil-teacher ratio: 21-to-1 Credentialed teachers: 92.9 percent Web site: www.lancaster.k12.ca.us Mojave Unified Schools: Two elementary, two middle, one high, one alternative, one continuation in Mojave, Cantil and California City Traditional calendar Pupil-teacher ratio: 24-to-1 Credentialed teachers: 90.4 percent One-year dropout rate: 2.6 percent SAT scores: 485 verbal, 511 math Web site: mojave.k12.ca.us Muroc Joint Unified Schools: Three elementary, one middle, two high, one continuation at Edwards Air Force Base, Boron and North Edwards Traditional calendar Pupil-teacher ratio: 20-to-1 Credentialed teachers: 94.8 percent One-year dropout rate: .9 percent SAT scores: 506 verbal, 523 math Web site: www.muroc.k12.ca.us Palmdale Schools: Fifteen elementary, five intermediate, four K-8, one alternative, one special-education in Palmdale Traditional calendar Pupil-teacher ratio: 25-to-1 Credentialed teachers: 88.9 percent Web site: www.psd.k12.ca.us Southern Kern Unified Schools: Three elementary, one middle, one high, one alternative, one continuation in Rosamond Traditional calendar Pupil-teacher ratio: 22-to-1 Credentialed teachers: 92.6 percent One-year dropout rate: .6 percent. SAT scores: 461 verbal, 454 math Web site: skusd.k12.ca.us Westside Union Schools: Nine elementary, two middle in Quartz Hill, Leona Valley, west Lancaster and west Palmdale Year-round calendar with one track Pupil-teacher ratio: 27-to-1 Credentialed teachers: 92.3 percent Web site: www.westside.k12.ca.us Wilsona Schools: Two elementary, one middle, one community-day in Lake Los Angeles Traditional calendar Pupil-teacher ratio: 21-to-1 Credentialed teachers: 88.5 percent Web site: N/A ANTELOPE VALLEY PRIVATE SCHOOLS Accelerated Learning, 1661 W. Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster, (661) 940-1636, Grades K-12. Antelope Valley Adventist School, 45045 Date Ave., Lancaster, (661) 942-6552, K-8. Antelope Valley Christian, 3700 W. Ave. L, Lancaster, (661) 943-0044, Preschool-12, Web site: www.avcs.edu. Bethel Christian School, 3100 W. Ave. K, Lancaster, (661) 943-2224, Preschool-12, Web site: www.bethelchristian.net. Desert Christian Schools, 44662 15th St. W., Lancaster, (661) 948-5071, Preschool-12, Web site: www.desertchristian.com. Desert Vineyard Christian School, 1011 E. Ave. I, Lancaster, (661) 948-3766, Preschool-6. Lancaster Baptist School, 4020 E. Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster, (661) 946-4668. Grades K-12. Lancaster Christian School, 44339 Beech Ave., Lancaster, (661) 942-2137, K-8, Web site: www.lancasterchristianschool.org. Paraclete High School, 42145 N. 30th St. W., Lancaster, (661) 943-3255, 9-12, Web site: www.paraclete.pvt.k12.ca.us. Pearblossom Private School, P.O. Box 847, Pearblossom 93553, (661) 944-0914, K-12. Pinecrest Schools, 2110 W. Ave. K, Lancaster, (661) 723-0366, Preschool-8, Web site: www.pinecrestschools.com/lancaster. Pinecrest Schools, 2320 E. Ave. R, Palmdale (661) 265-0045, Preschool-8, Web site: www.pinecrestschools.com/palmdale. Sacred Heart Catholic School, 45007 N. Cedar Ave., Lancaster, (661) 948-3613, K-8, Web site: www.sacredheartlancaster.org. St. Mary’s Catholic School, 1600 E. Ave. R-4, Palmdale, (661) 273-5555, K-8. Westside Christian School, 40027 11th St. W., Palmdale, (661) 947-7000, K-8. CHARTER SCHOOLS Desert Sands, 701 W. Ave. K, Lancaster, (661) 942-3357; 3030 E. Palmdale Blvd., Palmdale, (661) 272-0044, grades 9-12. Guidance Charter School, 1125 E. Palmdale Blvd., (661) 272-1701, K-8. Opportunities For Learning, 2505 E. Palmdale Blvd., Palmdale, (661) 265-1957; 1160 Commerce Center Drive, Lancaster (661) 951-3646, 7-12.