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Climate change could exacerbate flu epidemic, study finds

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — While experts say climate change could produce a wide range of side effects, a new one could be earlier and more severe flu seasons, according to a new study.

Researchers at Arizona State University and Northeastern Illinois University — led by ASU Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center research professor Sherry Towers — studied influenza and climate patterns in the United States from the 1997-1998 season to the present using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They found that strong flu seasons usually followed warm winters, a pattern that held true for the A and B strains of influenza.

"It appears that fewer people contract influenza during warm winters, and this causes a major portion of the population to remain vulnerable into the next season, causing an early and strong emergence," Towers said. "And when a flu season begins exceptionally early, much of the population has not had a chance to get vaccinated, potentially making that flu season even worse."

The researchers noted that the current season started early and fiercely, despite a relatively light 2011-2012 season that coincided with the fourth warmest winter on record; flu transmission decreases in warm and humid conditions, according to previous studies. But if global warming continues, warm winters will become more common, and the effects of the flu will be stronger.

"The expedited manufacture and distribution of vaccines and aggressive vaccination programs could significantly diminish the severity of future influenza epidemics," ASU mathematical epidemiologist Gerardo Chowell-Puente said.

The study, published online Monday in PLoS Currents: Influenza, received partial support from the Multinational Influenza Seasonal Mortality Study, overseen by the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center.


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Disinfectants join the battle against cold and flu

BY Michael Johnsen

LEBANON, Pa.  — Ever since H1N1, prevention has been a strong theme resonating through each cough-cold season. And now that there’s a strong flu season driving traffic, retailers like CVS/pharmacy here are strategically placing end-caps, such as this Lysol display, leading into the cough-cold sets. Tissues and even hand sanitizers had always been good ancillary categories that enjoyed a lift during cold and flu season. Now disinfectant cleaners are a good category to benefit from those sniffles and sneezes too.

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Wegmans’ food drive raises more than $2 million in 2012

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — During the fall 2012 checkout scanning campaign at 45 Wegmans stores in New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, eastern Pennsylvania, and the Greater Rochester region of New York, hunger relief donations totaled $1.4 million, Wegmans reported Wednesday. 

“We’re thankful for our customers and employees who step up to give in such a generous way,” stated Linda Lovejoy, Wegmans’ community relations manager. “Their donations at checkout help reduce hunger that exists right in our own neighborhoods and communities.”

The fall campaigns ran at various dates from October to December. Timing of the annual checkout scanning campaigns varies by region. During this time, the remaining Wegmans stores, which run annual checkout campaigns in February, held a one-time scanning campaign for Feeding America, which provided resources to food banks in the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. Stores in Buffalo, Syracuse, the Southern Tier, and parts of Pennsylvania accepted donations November 6 – 25, raising $87,000.

Hunger relief scanning campaigns raised a total of $2.3 million at Wegmans in 2012. Since these programs began in 1993, Wegmans has raised more than $21 million for hunger relief.

In addition to money raised for emergency food services in 2012, Wegmans also donated 16 million pounds of food to local food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens across all of its market areas. 


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Nicolas says:
Feb-01-2013 04:53 am

It always amazes me how our people despite such truly tough financial times are still involved with charity. It is a very noble thing to do for sure. One of my friends want to participate in a local charity event so much that she even took out cashadvance (it’s just her pay check was due a week after an even took a place). It was very sweet of her. But it is still better to put aside some if you want to donate. And you know what a total of $2.3 million at Wegmans in 2012 is a great achievement. Maybe it is not a big amount for somebody, but it is better than nothing anyways.

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