Surging flu cases may herald tough season in England

first_imgDec 24, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – While the US influenza season has started slowly, cases are surging in England, raising concern that the country could have its toughest season since 1999-2000.In England and Wales last week, about 68.5 people per 100,000 saw a general practitioner for influenza-like illness (ILI), a 73% increase over the 39.5 per 100,000 the week before, according to the latest weekly report from the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). A BBC News report said the number also is73% higher than the same week a year ago.Dr. Douglas Fleming, director of the RCGP Research Unit in Birmingham, said the increase was significant, according to BBC News. “In the past 10 years, the only substantial outbreak was in 1999-2000,” he said. “I think we could be looking at something that approaches that this year.”The RCGP report says ILI visit rates of 30 to 100 per 100,000 population per week are “usual when influenza viruses are circulating,” rates above 100 are above average, and rates exceeding 200 are “exceptional.” The RCGP data are drawn from about 85 general practitioner clinics around the country, representing an at-risk population of about 840,000.ILI rates rose in all age-groups and regions in the week of Dec 15 to 21, the RCGP report says. The highest rates were seen among 15- to 44-year-olds, with 79.7 cases per 100,000, and 45- to 64-year-olds, with 75.6 cases. The 65-and-older group had 44.7 cases per 100,000, which was more than double the 18 cases seen the week before.The BBC report said experts believe the unusually cold weather might have contributed to the surge in cases.British public health officials define a flu epidemic as an ILI rate of 200 per 100,000, according to the BBC story. The last time that happened in England was in 1989-90, the report said.”That one caught everyone a bit off guard but there’s been a big push on flu vaccination since then,” virologist John Oxford of Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London told the BBC.Oxford and others quoted in the story urged people to get a flu shot if they haven’t done so yet.David Salisbury, director of immunization at the UK Department of Health, told the BBC, “We have had a very unusual run of winters with almost no flu, so we should not be surprised that here is a winter with more flu. It is very difficult to predict what makes the change winter to winter.”In contrast to the situation in England, flu activity in the United States has remained low so far this season, according to the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued Dec 19. The report, for the week that ended Dec 13, said only three states—Texas, Virginia, and Hawaii—were reporting local flu activity. Thirty-six states reported sporadic cases and 11 states were reporting none.Google Flu Trends, a Web site that estimates US flu activity from the volume of Internet searches for flu information, currently shows “moderate” activity only in Hawaii, Maryland, and Virginia, with the rest of the country having low activity.See also: CDC flu surveillance updatehttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/Google Flu Trendshttp://www.google.org/flutrends/last_img read more

Rower Tupek striving to meet lofty expectations in 2005

first_imgLast year, Wisconsin oarsman Mike Tupek was something of an anomaly.As the only member of his class placed in the top shell as a sophomore, Tupek found himself among a group of experienced rowers vying for a place among the national elite. As the youngest member of the varsity eights, he experienced the high of Wisconsin’s shocking upset of West Coast powerhouse Washington and the low of a disappointing finish at the Intercollegiate Rowing Regatta.Now, after the departure of multiple seniors — including the last remnants of Wisconsin’s third-ranked boat of 2003 — Tupek has suddenly become the cagey veteran.Yet Wisconsin head coach Chris Clark still expects improvement from his standout junior rower. After mustering an impressive debut season in the freshman eights, Tupek suffered somewhat of an off year during his sophomore campaign.“[Tupek] has got to get better,” Clark said. “He came in here with this amazing fire, and last year, I don’t know what it was. He had sort of a strange slump. This year, he is doing better.”As one of the naturally strongest rowers on the team, and also one of the more seasoned, Tupek is being asked to take on more of a leadership role this season. This year’s rowing team is young, with only one senior rower in the first boat. Clark likes Tupek’s aggressive style of rowing and wants other rowers to pick up on that.“Today [in practice], I moved him to stroke, which is like the quarterback because he is super aggressive,” Clark said. “That’s something we often do, is put the most aggressive guy there. He shows other guys that, ‘Oh, this is how it’s supposed to be done.’”Tupek has been in the first boat since his freshman year. Clark is hoping that Tupek’s experience will bear out in the team’s performance not only during practice, but also in the heat of the spring events.“Under the pressure of a big race and the intensity of your competition, you’ll do what is equivalent to a turnover,” Clark said. “Not only do you not win, but you don’t even row your race. Hopefully a guy like [Tupek] can help turn that around. It’s not like you expect him to sit down with everybody and tell tales around the campfire about ‘back when I was a kid,’ but you lead by example.”Tupek’s goals are equivalent to Clark’s. As an individual, his ergometer times and personal achievements are important to him. Yet, ultimately, Tupek wants continuous progress until the Badgers are able to reach the highest level of competition.“Personal expectations are just to improve over past years, both physically and technique-wise,” Tupek said. “As a team, I think the goal is pretty much the same: we want to keep improving each year. If we build a little bit each year, we’ll be back in the running for medals and national championships.”Despite strong recruiting from competing schools, the Bethesda, Md., native eventually chose Wisconsin due to the program’s recent success under Clark and the general appeal of the atmosphere at Madison.“After my recruiting visit, it was pretty unanimous,” Tupek said. “Almost everyone on that same recruiting visit decided this is the place [he wanted] to go. I chose here mostly because, at the time, we were one of the top rowing teams in the country. That was definitely an important part of the decision. Frankly, when I came to visit here, Wisconsin just had a much better atmosphere, in my opinion, and was much more fun.”Academics also played a key role in Tupek’s choice of colleges.“In high school I was strongest at math, so I was interested in engineering,” Tupek said. “The engineering program was strong here, so engineering and rowing basically made my decision to come here.”According to Tupek, he has made the dean’s list four out of his five semesters in Madison. The struggle of balancing his commitment to rowing and his studies has not been difficult for him. Rather, rowing has helped Tupek give his life more structure. “In a way, rowing helps you schedule your homework,” Tupek said. “When you’re not rowing, it’s easy to find distractions and, when you’re rowing, you stay focused on one task. You’re able to focus more on both athletics and academics at the same time.”last_img read more

Rep. Barshell Challenges School Administrators to Focus on Sciences

first_imgCeebe Barshell making remarks during the Science and Arts exhibition at Aware International SchoolHaving experienced shortage of medical doctors throughout the country, Montserrado County District#3 Representative Ceebee Barshell on Friday, March 1, 2019, said there was a need for school administrators to pay keen attention by including Science and Arts courses into their curriculum.Barshell said during so would encourage more students to develop interest in Science and Arts courses, through which many of students could become medical doctors.Barshell made the statement when the Aware International School conducted a Science and Arts Exhibition where participating students displayed their individual talents in Science and Arts.At Friday’s exhibition, students presented working models of their projects on global warming and its preventive measures, application of mathematical theories for daily use, as well as science and arts play for kids.The students also exhibited common plants and their health benefits, assessment of intentions and their working models, and a general tour of scientific and artistic displays.With the display of Arts, Barshell said there was a need for school authorities to concentrate mostly on the field of sciences. “But to achieve that, relevant government institutions, including the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), have to do more to reduce tariffs on the importation of science related equipment and materials.Another issue, Barshell observed, was for school authorities to mobilize their resources to jointly help the importation of said equipment and materials into Liberia.Indian Consul Gen. Jetty making remarks at the Science and Art Exhibition at Aware International SchoolAlso speaking, Upjit Singh Sachdeva, commonly known as “Jeety,” lauded the Aware International School administration for the initiative, and called on authorities at the Ministry of Education to follow the good “example of the school.”Jeety, a businessman and the Indian Consul General to Liberia, said the annual science and arts exhibition would make more students to get involved with the field of science and, thereafter, become future scientists for the country.According to him, the country has about 123 medical doctors for a population of over 4 million, which he said is a result of school administrators not making enough efforts to ensure that science laboratory was prioritized into their institution.This, he said would help to attract more students to the field of science and to become medical doctors in the future.Students of Aware International School demonstrating their science and arts projectsShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more